In September of last year a startup called casa released a standalone Bitcoin Lightning Network node device. The device comes pre-loaded with all software required, and much of the downtime need to upload the Bitcoin network already done for the consumer. The device has no screen, but connects to a platform the designed specifically for interacting with the hardware in an extremely user-friendly way. The company hopes that the device will break down the barriers of entry for those who are interested in participating in and sup[porting the Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN).
It was first proposed in 2015 as a method for users to make payments and to receive payments on side channels. These transactions are grouped outside of standard Bitcoin blocks through a series of connections between users operating nodes. The transactions are later confirmed to the Bitcoin ledger when there are enough transactions to fill a block. This system allows the trusted Bitcoin network to be easily engaged with near-instant payments. However, there are still issues with how consumers and merchants can easily use this capability.
The problem is that at this time, the vast majority of individuals who are involved with cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology in any serious way are primarily focuses on either a financial interest in the technology or they are developers who can actually handle working with the kind of hardware and software needed to use the Bitcoin Lightning network already. The Casa Node device itself costs $300, and because of these factors, it is a fairly niche product.
Importance of Open-Source Software
Quickly after releasing the product, Casa released the software that the product operates on, allowing developers or tech savvy individuals the ability to build their own version of the Casa Bitcoin LN Node. This inspiredd another project on GitHub.com called RaspiBlitz, which performs the same functions as the Casa Node, but includes directions and the programming needed to include an LCD screen.
“In general, the version 1.0 signals that I see the RaspiBlitz package is ready to be shared with friends and colleagues for its intended purpose: To set up a bitcoin and lightning node during a workshop, which takes about 3 hours, or as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project over the weekend when you order the parts from Amazon.” - Project lead Christian Rootzoll
The devices both utilize Raspberry Pi computers. These are small versatile computers, which can be used to make just about anything from a DIY cellphone to the brain of a simple robot. The devices only cost about $100 depending on what is included and what version of the product it is. They are only about the size of small wallet, but allow full customization.
“For now if you like to have a little hands on and searching for a cheap starting point to become part of the lightning network – the RaspiBlitz project is the choice by a lot of people. And now with version 1.0 the package is ready to be spread across the world.” - Christian Rootzoll
By: BGN Editorial Staff