Welcome to Built on Bitcoin - Your home for innovation happening in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Feb. 4, 2023

E105: This Week in Bitcoin for February 3rd, 2023 (Bitcoin, Lightning, Stacks, RSK, Liquid)

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TWIB 2/4/23


What is up? You beautiful people. Welcome back to the Built On Bitcoin podcast. We'll recover everything going on across the Bitcoin ecosystem, having to do with innovation and talking to builders. No price. Action, and number. Go up, talk here. At all, and this is this weekend's Bitcoin episode. So we're talking about what I saw across the major ecosystems.

There was some big news around Bitcoin, NFTs and the maxes went absolutely crazy. There's some big news from strike. Some Noster news and some other good updates across stacks, lightning, r s k, Blockstream, and Bitcoin main chain. So with without further ado, I am Jacob Brown, your humble host, but you'll see me around as Jake Blockchain.

And let's jump in. So what did I see this week first? There's a senator from Arizona who for I think the second or maybe third time, put together a bill to make Bitcoin legal tender. In [00:01:00] Arizona. It failed last time. She's trying it again. We'll see what happens. But this is big. If something becomes legal tender in a state, you can use it as a minimum of exchange to pay taxes, pay off your certain debts,, public charges.

Any dues you have to the state, those can be, rectified. So the idea is you can do that with Bitcoin, which would be super bullish. You know, I think this is one of those things where it's kind of like these, like the marijuana movement in certain states where it starts local. and then more states adopt it and it's a matter of time be before the federal government decriminalizes more of these things cuz they see that the risks don't outweigh the the benefits.

So it's a matter of time. Fortune favors the bold in this case. So I'd love to see one state make that and lead the way. All right, next up. Couple big stats on the Bitcoin network. First it settled, its 800000000th transac. Which is crazy, like [00:02:00] this network that's just basically running autonomously and collecting transactions, putting them nicely together in a block, and then sending it off to be forever imprinted on the chain.

To sell 800 million. So it should be pretty quick that we're gonna see it, get to that one T number, which is absolutely staggering. Next up, also in milestones. Uh, in this bear market, there's been prices been down. But the hash rate has been up, the Bitcoin network rates a new all-time high for a total hash rate at 295 x hashes on January 29th.

To put that in perspective that is 295 Quintilian hashes being done per second, and a hash is just a very basic math problem to try and find the special number that will give you the Bitcoin block. So that's 295 and [00:03:00] 20 zeros every second. In insane. It's retraced down some sense that all-time high.

And it's a, it's a lagging indicator because the time to get these machines online, especially in these big facilities, can take a while. So this is really indicative of investment that happened, say a year ago. But, uh, the Bitcoin security is in a good spot. Oh, also to say, Bitcoin mining hardware does get better.

So costs will go down, hash it go up. So we do expect this to just go up kind of in perpetuity. There is a dance between, does that number mean security in a linear fashion? Probably not. Just for some context things. Things I learned that now, you know. All right. Now onto really the biggest topic of the week, which is Ordinals, or you might also might see them called inscriptions. And this is a [00:04:00] new Bitcoin, N F T, where you can store arbitrary data directly on Bitcoin main chain through some functionality that came with taproot.

So I don't. A bunch of the specifics, but I saw this, I reported on it first about two weeks ago when I saw it as a, just a random post on Stacker News by the crater. His name is Casey Tmore. And uh, yeah. So with Taproot, it allows you to have some more functionality, some things you can add to a Bitcoin block, and he found a way that you can ascribe data.

Into a single Satoshi and then put that on the block up to the block size. So it's about just under four megabytes. And with this you could put, uh, image or MP3 or whatever up to that four megabyte limit and it attaches to that single Satoshi. So, This has opened up a whole can of worms from Bitcoins and crypto people on what should be done about these [00:05:00] things.

What's technically feasible versus what should be allowed, uh, how should we solve this? Who should be paying for this spam on the blockchain where, you know, if you post a bunch of dumb pictures and I have a Bitcoin node, , why am I spending hard drive space to store your stupid photos? That's one of the arguments.

So it's opened up a whole line of thinking around how cautious Bitcoin should be. Is this even allowed? Um, should we be vilifying builders? Should we vilifying? Future upgrades, a ton of stuff. It's also increased talks around side chains and pushing things like BIP 300 or say stacks as Bitcoin layers and making them easier to use will make ideally Bitcoin main chain.

Less of a reason to put N F T data there. So, Very interesting. Um, I'm very curious to see how this all plays out, but personally, I think this is super, [00:06:00] super, super bullish on Bitcoin layers. All right, so that's it for Bitcoin main chain. Now, jumping into Bitcoin layers, but first a quick word from . Our sponsor.

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All right. Thank you to my sponsor as always. So, jumping in to Stacks, uh, a few things I saw I was a quieter week on Stacks, but Cycle, which is the decentralized blogging platform, celebrated their fourth anniversary. , which is crazy cuz it's now February 4th, stacks 2.0 main net. Launched on January 14th, 2021.

So it's just over two years old, which means cycle's been building since before Mayn Net launched when Stacks was block stack and uh, yeah, so they're OG OGs and they're still building. So props to them for continuing on this journey. The product's getting better and better every month. I use it [00:08:00] myself.

All right. Next up on some. Trust machines, SBTC News, uh, first Trust Machines hired six new blockchain engineers in the past few months, mostly focused on core infrastructure and blockchain work, which is huge. And one of those guys that was hired is Igor, Igor Sylvester, and he was recently interviewed on.

The Hero Systems podcast by Max and they went deep into Sbtc and the technical specifications and is current state, how it's gonna work. So this is a working live thing. Uh, they have the basic structure figured out, and the white paper you can read and check it out, but there's still some things there in the actual details being figured out.

But if you wanna be at the bleeding edge, What s Sptc might look like? Uh, this podcast with Igor and Max, highly recommend.

All right, moving on [00:09:00] to Lightning, which is typically one of my favorite topics cuz there's just so much going on and it's a fantastic experience to use. I'm super bullish on Lightning. So with that said, strike, which is the payment app that's trying to make payments, kind of like Cash app. , but for strictly using lightning in as many places as possible.

They had two big announcements this week. So one, they made Philippines allow global access to payments. So you can send someone in the Philippines, I would send them U S D, it would ride on lightning rails and then end up in their local currency, auto converted. So this now is available in the Philippines, which is 120 million people population.

and, uh, yeah, strike has been super targeted at this market, which is the cross-border remittance kind of western union market, because lightning is so fast and so cheap and it sends it through, you can use Bitcoin, um, [00:10:00] super, super Bowl issue case. So we're seeing this, the, the country's lineup more up, more and more.

They want to go global, but they're taking it piece by piece by piece to make sure they do it right. So props to them. . And in the same, uh, same vein, they announced a huge partnership with Clover, which is a point of sales systems, provider, a manufacturer. So if you've ever been to a small business restaurant and they have a pretty snazzy white point of sales system where you put in your, debit card, or you might tap to pay, it's most likely a clover.

They, they're the biggest provider of point of sale systems for small businesses. Square, I believe uses them, but they might actually have their own in-house stuff now. Uh, this is huge. So now you can use Strike directly on the Clovis systems, which gives them a huge inroad to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of businesses outta the gate as people adopt those, this technology.

So [00:11:00] that's huge. Moving on. There's 11,000 now over 11,000 podcasts that support the podcasting 2.0 standard. So if you're not familiar, I've been harping on this a little bit, but podcasting is a very old technology. It's just an r s s feed that sends out, uh, you the data and it sends you, you download the whole MP3 and you can listen to it.

Cool. Basic tech. Well on the r s s feed, you can add another tag and it it a, attaches your lightning address to the podcast feed. So what that allows is once a podcasting app or a website could read that data properly, it can easily allow people to tip you through lightning or. Uh, say podcast revenue amongst the crater and the guests, so it opens up, what do they call value for value exchange, where I work hard to make this podcast.

You need me some [00:12:00] love on streaming, some stats or tipping in Satoshis. So a few months ago, that number was well below 10,000, and now we're already at almost 12. It's a protein 12. So nice to see, um, these frictionless borders between creator and people being able to, to tip in a cheap way, getting better and better.

On that same note, one of the easiest places and pretty cool ways to use lightning, uh, in a frictionless way on an application that has has some value is stacker news, which is kind of like hacker news. But to post something, you have to have lightning wallets. With some stats in it, and if you, every time you post or comment or like something, it costs you fractions of a penny.

And so the idea is that if you have to have some costs to comment, then the signal to noise ratio just goes up and up and up. And so Stacker news, uh, hit 1000 monthly active users [00:13:00] tipping stats on the platform. So bullish metric for people actually trying this out. and the last in Lightning ish news, it's really more Noster, which is a decentralized messaging platform, but Dams, which is a, the most popular Twitter clone that uses noster.

The protocol, uh, made in iOS app submitted to the app store and got approved. So now there's a Twitter alternative officially on the app store that you can use and used your decentralized public key and talk in that fashion, no one can shut you down. And, uh, on that same note, there is some interesting work being done by Larry from new Internet labs to integrate b n s names, DOTC names into Naster.

So very, very interesting space to be watching. All right, last two little love dates. First, r s k. They've been having some problems over the past couple months where there was an update to [00:14:00] Bitcoin core. It was flagging the rsk peg out transactions as invalid. and so people couldn't peg out their Bitcoin using the official main peg out protocol.

You had to go through sovereign or some other, uh, side wallets that were allowed you to do that. Well now as of last week, there's an upgrade that was put forward and now it's back on live, so everything is working as it should. So props to them. Uh, that was, that was tough to see, but glad to see it's back online.

We need all the Bitcoin innovation we can. All right. And then last, but I mean, how about even go there. Last on the, on the, uh, list is Blockstream, which raised 125 million fundraise focused on mining services. So Blockstream does a ton of things. They have the liquid blockchain, which is a, a side chain allowing smart contracts on Bitcoin [00:15:00] to federate network.

They do a ton of research into Core Lightning, which is their version of a Lightning client. They do bitcoin core work. They have a hardware wallet. , but they also have mining hosting services. So you pay them monthly and they'll spin up a minor for you. Uh, host the hardware, you know, pay the, the, the electric costs, do all the stuff.

And then you pay them a fee to, uh, secure the network, but also get your Bitcoin rewards. So they raised 125 million to expand that hosting services. It's mainly for institutional players, and secondly is to conduct r and d to create their own Bitcoin minor. So, This is an interesting space that's kind of nascent right now.

I think there's two main mining companies. There's Bitmain and there's one other one which I can't remember the name of, but I think Cash App is working on their own miner. I think it's sp it's working in inside of Spiral. It's [00:16:00] a square and now Blockstream is doing it. So there's a few companies trying to, oh, and Intel is working on a chip.

So there's quite a few companies trying to crack this ASIC specified chip production and like mining infrastructure. So going back to that hash rate argument earlier, expect that number to go astronomically high in the next decade or so. And it doesn't necessarily mean the network is that much more secure, but it will obsolete older, hard.

Um, so yeah, thing, thing to watch. So that is what I saw in this week in Bitcoin. Thank you for listening. If you can listen on Fountain, which you can type into your iOS or Android app, it's a fantastic podcast player and it makes it dead simple to send me some love. ViaSat, you can do it by the minutes or just send me a tip.

I will love you forever. But that's it. Until next time, I'll see ya. Love y'all.

[00:17:00] Welcome to Built on Bitcoin. I know the things going on with, I'll be right. Wait now trying to figure out a way to make it out. Make it out. Cause I don't think about everything going.