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Lnurl to simplify Lightning payments
Sending or receiving Lightning payments can often require a minimum of setup and a series of steps. Lnurl aims to simplify many common actions so that they only require a click or a QR scan instead.
Payments with Ligthning are an experimental payment method that could significantly improve the Bitcoin network, making payments faster, cheaper and scalable. But so far the user experience (UX) is even more confusing than that of Bitcoin.
That's why Bitcoin Lightning Wallet developer and creator Anton Kumaigorodski decided to create a standard that would improve Lightning's UX, simplifying the underlying complexity for users.
“I noticed some clearly visible UX problems specific to the Lightning Network wallets, all of which are solvable but require some kind of standard on which to converge the wallets. Lnurl aims to be such a standard, "said Kumaigorodski.
In Lightning payments there is currently a big problem that a user who does not already own bitcoins cannot receive payments from others. Numerous services such as Bitrefill's Lightning Loop and Thor have been launched to help users gain inbound capacity.
With Lnurl (in particular, the part of the standard called Lnurl-channel) the process is greatly simplified, making these services more automatic. A user can recover his incoming capacity with a simple click.
"You could scan a QR code and request an inbound channel from a dedicated service," said Lightning and Bitcoin Core contributor Tim Akinbo. "No IT know-how is required," said Breez CEO Roy Sheinfeld.
Another paragraph of the specifications, Lnurl- withdraw, also simplifies the movement of funds. Suppose you earn bitcoins in a Lightning app (a "lapp" in Bitcoin jargon). The pocket change you receive will initially be stored in the app you are using.
But if you wanted to move your bitcoins into your wallet, this would take several steps. Lnurl potentially reduces this process to a simple scan in the app from which it is transferring funds.
"One of the improvements includes the ability to simply scan a QR code and withdraw funds from a service directly to your wallet, without the annoying workflow of generating an invoice and then sending it," said Akinbo.
It is worth noting that this standard so far only works in the wallets and apps that support it. The more wallets use this standard, the better, said Kumaigorodski. Each service that adopts it will facilitate the process for users, doing a small part to make the Lightning network easier to use for mere mortals.