Lighting Payments Come to Mobile Games, Fueling Bitcoin Adoption

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When you hear “payments in mobile gaming,” maybe you think about “in-game pay-to-play-better” mechanisms where you can get a more powerful character if you just pony up $4.99.

Or, about how you can only move to a certain part of the map for a small payment of $1.99.

Or about how you can only open a certain door with a certain key, which you could get through a five-hour grind in the druid gardens.

Maybe you think about the $14.99 monthly subscription you’re paying for that chess app because you’re totally going to get good at chess soon.

This piece is part of CoinDesk's Payments Week.

As games opt for more of these small and microtransactions, Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (Lightning) can clearly play a role. Its commerce layer can handle cheap, fast microtransactions as small as a single satoshi (1/100,000,000th of a bitcoin (BTC), ~$0.0004), allowing players to make easy in-game payments.

But that’s boring. And it doesn’t quite fulfill Bitcoin’s potential.

What is less boring is using the Lightning Network to monetize mobile games in the other direction, allowing players to win money for being good at the game.

That in turn can further and encourage bitcoin adoption, Bitcoin gaming entrepreneurs believe. In this way, some believe that mobile games can act as an effective introduction to bitcoin.

That’s the idea behind companies like THNDR, where Des Dickerson is CEO and co-founder. THNDR is building mobile games where you can earn bitcoin paid out over Lightning. Players of these mobile games are eligible for small, bitcoin-denominated rewards daily based on their game performance in the preceding 24 hours.

Basically, players will earn at least some bitcoin they can claim by withdrawing to a Lightning Network-enabled bitcoin wallet (fees are quite cheap on Lightning).

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