Bitcoin & Lightning Keynote with Michael Rihani

Michael Rihani is the Bitcoin product lead at Cash App, which is the #1 finance app in the App store and the world’s largest Lightning-enabled app. Michael was previously responsible for the world-wide launch of Apple Pay and then was the product lead of Apple Cash and Apple Card. So he is very experienced  in the payments space.  Michael believes that Bitcoin is revolutionizing money, payments and the world, so much so, that he has decided to devote the rest of his career to this revolutionary technology. He gives 21 reasons for this decision on his twitter profile and it is worth a gander.

Michael stated that Bitcoin is global, rare ( limited supply), secure, and it is for everyone. No one decides who has access, how much BTC to create or what it is worth. It is truly a new kind of money. Cash App sold $7 Billion of Bitcoin to it users in 2022. Interestingly, the app doesn’t require you to select whether you are sending the BTC thru lightning or on-chain. Lightning is a layer 2 protocol on the Bitcoin blockchain comparable to how email is a second layer using the internet as it’s base. Lightning is a “fully open, interoperable, low-cost, payment protocol that settles in real-time.”

Michael explained how the expansion of the lightning network is similar to the hatching of the internet which started in 1969 with 4 nodes between west coast universities. In 1982 it had 100 nodes and now it has about a billion routers. Lightning Labs released  a beta of Lightning Network (LN) in 2018. In December 2018 there were 2000 nodes. Today there are about 18,000 nodes and 140k payment channels. All the indicators of lightning adoption are charted up and to the right.