New app allows users to tip on Twitter with bitcoin

February 19, 2019 15:12
Leveraging the Lightning Network technology, new app Tippin is allowing Twitter users to make small bitcoin transactions as a tip if they like a tweet. Photos: Reuters, Bloomberg

Notwithstanding a market "winter", the cryptocurrency industry is continuing an effort to push mass adoption of new digital tokens. Social media platforms, with a large user base, are seen as an attractive area for the crypto industry to expand its presence.

Recently, a new application called Tippin released a Chrome Extension which allows users on social media platform Twitter to express their appreciation with small bitcoin transactions as a tip if they like a tweet, CoinDesk reports.

By enabling the extension, a lightning bolt symbol appears, next to the “like” and “retweet” buttons in every tweet, which enables the app users to send bitcoin payments over Twitter, via the Lightning Network, the bitcoin micropayments system for small, fast transactions.

Twitter users with the Tippin app installed are able to receive the tips in bitcoin.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Tippin engineer Sergio Abril said “it’s the first time we can send small amounts almost at no cost, and we can do it incredibly fast.” He believes tipping is going to be incredibly popular with the Lightning Network.

Tippin’s developing team plans to expand the application by including support on other social media platforms in the future, Abril added.

Bitcoin has been popular all over the world in the past three years, but the relatively long transaction confirmation time of the payment network was seen as one of the major obstacles of the application of bitcoin as a payment method for regular consumers.

Tackling those issues, the Lightning Network technology code has emerged as an upgrade to the bitcoin blockchain network that would work as an additional layer to the ‘main chain’.

It enables the payer and recipient to establish a “payment channel”, through which the two parties can make multiple real-time transactions amongst themselves and others.

With an aim to make bitcoin transactions cheaper and faster, the Lightning Network solution, along with other technologies like the SegWit protocol upgrade, is expected to enable the bitcoin network to process millions of transactions per second, for merely a fraction of the fees banking networks currently charge.

A beta of the Lightning Network solution has been released on the bitcoin network in March last year.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and payment technology company Square, has previously talked up the potential of bitcoin and decentralized cryptocurrencies.

Despite the fact that the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency has had a troubled start to 2019, Dorsey has made a bold prediction that bitcoin will one day become the single global currency, and said he hopes the cryptocurrency will eventually be the "native currency" of the internet.

Dorsey's payment tech venture, Square, has supported bitcoin since 2014, and, in early 2018, it allowed users buy and sell bitcoin via the popular payment app Cash.

CNBC had reported previously that Dorsey had invested in the blockchain startup Lightning Labs, which specializes in the Lightning Network technology, in the startup’s US$2.5 million funding round in March 2018. 

Dorsey also promoted a social media game called "lightning torch," where users add funds to a bitcoin payment and then send the "torch" along to another person so they can add funds and so on.

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