Coinbase Unveils Bitcoin Lightning Network Deal With Lightspark

Coinbase (COIN), the largest regulated cryptocurrency broker, said Tuesday it is partnering with Lightspark to integrate bitcoin’s Lightning Network. This move is aimed at bringing new efficiencies to the realm of cryptocurrency payments.

For now, Coinbase’s Lightning Network integration isn’t available to customers in all jurisdictions. However, those that have access to the integration could recognize significant cost advantages when it comes to off-chain bitcoin transactions relative to using credit cards or bank wires to transfer money. The exchange operator noted the Lightning Network integration on Coinbase means the cost of sending bitcoin anywhere in the world is now 20x less than the 2% levied by credit card networks. That is also well below the average $30 on wire transfers.

That potentially expands the usage case for bitcoin. The cryptocurrency has long been positioned as a preferred avenue of peer-to-peer monetary transfer. That’s because of the rapid fashion in which digital assets can be moved. Bitcoin can flow from one digital wallet to another instantly. A bank wire can take several days to clear.

Lightning Network Could Be Future of Finance

Another long-held view is that bitcoin is a disruptor to traditional financial services. The Lightning Network integration capitalizes on that theme.

“Today’s global payments system is far too slow and expensive to adequately serve people across the world. For example, U.S. consumers paid an estimated $75 billion in credit card transaction fees in 2022 alone. And many transactions in the U.S. still take days to clear. Blockchain technology is enabling faster, more secure payments at much lower costs than traditional finance,” according to Coinbase.

San Francisco-based Coinbase added the Lightning Network integration signals its ongoing support for the largest digital currency as well its commitment to lowering transfer costs and times.

“Until now, bitcoin transfers on Coinbase were processed onchain which could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours and could be costly for users. The Lightning Network, built on top of Bitcoin, enables instant off-chain bitcoin transfers at a fraction of the cost,” added the company.

Shares of Coinbase reside in more than 120 exchange traded funds. That group includes the Global X Blockchain ETF (BKCH), Fidelity Crypto Industry and Digital Payments ETF (FDIG), Bitwise Crypto Industry Innovators ETF (BITQ) and the actively managed Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK), among others.

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