Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has partnered with cryptocurrency gift cards provider Bitrefill to allow users to shop with bitcoin (BTC) and pay with the Lightning Network.
Using bitcoin from their wallets, Bitfinex customers will be able to shop from Bitrefill's catalog of over 2000 digital gift cards and mobile phone refill options, according to an announcement shared with The Block on Wednesday. The gift cards include gaming, dining, entertainment (e.g. Netflix), and travel categories.
Once users pay with bitcoin, Bitfinex and Bitrefill will automatically settle payments using the Lightning Network, a second layer payments protocol enabling ultra-fast and cheaper transactions on top of the bitcoin blockchain. This will eliminate the need for business-to-business (B2B) credit term relationships, said Sweden-based Bitrefill.
“This collaboration signals a new era for Bitcoin commerce. We will continue to work closely with Bitfinex and other businesses to develop Lightning solutions and products that make living on crypto a reality, eventually removing dependability on fiat rails,” said John Carvalho, chief communications officer at Bitrefill.
When asked for any plans in progress for tie-ups with other exchanges, Carvalho told The Block that Bitrefill hasn’t officially partnered with any other cryptocurrency exchanges yet, but once it gives the Bitfinex set up “some time to polish, we will begin work to add more.”
“Exchanges are not the only category of collaboration we are working on, and we intend to onboard other players to Lightning and shopping features in Q1 2020,” he added.
On the partnership, Bitfinex’s chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino, said: “Bitcoin's use as a means of payment represents an important milestone in the inevitable journey towards mass adoption. This is why the Lightning Network is so important.”
Just yesterday, Bitfinex also added support for bitcoin deposits and withdrawals on the Lightning Network, becoming the first major cryptocurrency exchange to do so. Bitrefill is providing Bitfinex support for the Lightning Network deposits/withdrawals. “Behind the scenes, we'll be using fat channel subnetworks, custom implementations, and dynamic settlements to power a new economy,” Bitrefill said at the time.
Bitfinex is also working to bring its stablecoins Tether (USDT) and Tether Gold onto the Lightning Network, Ardoino told The Block at the time.
Sources familiar with matter recently told The Block that Kraken exchange is also working on to bring bitcoin deposits and withdrawals on the Lightning Network.
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