Lightning Labs has released a new protocol standard that allows companies on the web to sell their products and services through micro-payments, without the necessity of providing a login, email, or password to users. Dubbed Lightning Service Authentication Tokens (LSAT), the payment and authentication protocol works seamlessly with bitcoin’s fast payment layer, the Lightning Network. Along with the protocol, the company also launched Aperture, a system that works as a kind of gateway API, accelerating the implementation of payments on existing systems.
The authentication of users in the services is due to a cryptographically verifiable record. The LSAT provides users with a receipt for every purchase they make on Lightning Network. And that receipt will be the user’s encryption verifiable credential for him to log into the same service in the future, according to Olaoluwa Osuntokun, CTO of Lightning Labs. “An LSAT is essentially a login obtained through Lightning for a specific service or feature”, Osuntokun said.
The protocol allows for several new use cases, business models, and applications, all using Lightning Network as a payment method. For example, it allows the creation of services or resources that are being paid for by the user as they are used, rather than paying for a subscription, for example. If the user stops paying, the resource can be suspended, collected, and relocated to another paying user. Among the included services are processing, server hosting, raw disk space, videos and news reading.
For Transfero’s Head of Blockchain and Bitcoin Operations, Roberto Santacroce, innovations like this dramatically reduce project costs aimed at revenue from selling web services. “Innovations that have been made using bitcoin’s base protocol as a platform to solve distributed computing problems, such as distributing credentials for access to content and services, bring a drastic reduction in scopes, investment in development and purchases of tools for projects that aim to generate revenue through digital services”, he says.
In addition, the development of this new tool shows how much remains to be done to develop the bitcoin blockchain. “This new protocol provides a great example of how there is a universe of innovations and new models through the bitcoin”, Santacroce points out.
For the Lightning Labs CTO, the protocol provides a more direct experience and more privacy to the end user, because the server itself is unaware of who paid for the token to use the products and services sold.