According to Coin Telegraph, the popular digital currency payment service CoinGate is launching a pilot program in which 100 merchants will have the opportunity to test out transactions on a bitcoin Lightning Network. These merchants will include servers and hosting services, online stores making use of cryptocurrency merchandise and payments, and esport betting sites, among others. Per CoinGate, the Lightning Network iteration of the payment service "will be" available from July 1.

Lightning Network and Payments

Although hype has died down somewhat, the bitcoin lightning network has at times been hailed as a breakthrough for the world's leading digital currency with regard to scalability. One of the major issues facing bitcoin in comparison with other cryptocurrencies is its scalability; BTC simply has a harder time keeping pace with increased transaction demands when compared with some of its competitors. The lightning network aims to reduce this deficit by keeping many of the BTC transactions off-chain.

A Valuable Opportunity

CoinGate CTO Rytis Bieliauskas explained that the pilot program will allow merchants "to be the first ones to test the Lightning Network in real life, and therefore to gather valuable experience on how this technology works, how it can be improved," and so on. Bieliauskas notes that the Lightning Network is "one of the most awaited developments for the community," adding that his team sees the new technology as "ultimately help[ing] bitcoin become much quicker and lighter," even if it takes "1-2 years for consumer applications to develop and probably more for merchants to start adopting this more actively."

CoinGate will cover the costs incurred by any funds lost during the trial period. CoinGate's pilot program comes amid ongoing controversy about the effectiveness of the Lightning Network. A study released late in June suggested that the network had a low reliability of success when it comes to routing a payment; this study was refuted by cryptocurrency experts in support of the technology. For some merchants, the best way to determine whether or not the Lightning Network will be effective seems to be to put it into practice and find out firsthand.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin and ripple.

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