The Lightning Network hit the ground running in one of the world’s most challenging operating environments. Lagos, the capital of Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country – welcomed a new node to the Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) this week, a vital step to better connect the continent to the second layer payments network that sits atop Bitcoin.
The node works on an old laptop computer that runs on a diesel generator. Lagos regularly experiences power and electricity outages.
Megasley diesel generator and laptop power the node. Source: Megasley
In a discussion with Cointelegraph, Megasley, who runs Nigeria’s first Lightning node of 2023 and the country’s first active Lightning node (other nodes are dormant), shared his vision of bringing low-cost instant payments to Africa thanks to LN.
It takes light 50 milliseconds to cross the Earth. That’s fast, but with so many jumps, those milliseconds can add up. And when you’re standing at a point of sale waiting for your payment to clear, it can be frustrating.”
Megasli made clear his desire for Africans to receive immediate payments and as close as possible to free. “If the Nigerian Bitcoiner and the Nigerian retailer were both connected to a node in Nigeria, it would give them the best Lightning experience,” Megasley added.
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According to Mempool and Amboss Explorers Services, the operator is currently the only active node on the map in Nigeria. By spinning the node, the operator aims to make Lightning payments as accessible to Africans as possible.
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When asked about the importance of building an extensive network of nodes around the world to facilitate Bitcoin payments, the node runner explained, “If Bitcoin is to be successful, it has to become a better, easier, and faster medium of exchange than the existing ones. To get there, we need to build a network vast number of nodes around the world to facilitate these payments.”
Megasley also touched on Bitcoin
Price volatility and perception in Africa: “People talk about the volatility problem, but it means nothing when you live in a place where your money can easily lose half its value in one year.”
“Africa has corrupt money controlled by corrupt people, which is why we need bitcoin. We will take away the power of money from them so that the vast potential of the African people can flourish.”
In fact, there has been a rise in Bitcoin adoption among countries that use the CFA franc, buoyed by Bitcoin conferences and forums in Senegal and Ghana. Although Nigeria has shown promising signs of Bitcoin adoption, such as discussing a legal tender, the legacy financial system will impose more restrictions in 2023.
For example, Nigerians will only be allowed to withdraw $44 per week for individuals and a maximum of $11,000 for businesses in 2023, according to the government’s efforts to phase out cash. As a reminder, there are no limits or restrictions on the use of Bitcoin. To trade freely on the Bitcoin network, users only need a phone and an internet connection.