Busking on Bitcoin: How Lightning Network outperforms Ethereum for tipping

A busker in British Columbia got a lesson in the Lightning Network after a passerby offered to send some Bitcoin his way.

The Canadian band The Carbons got a little more than just a tip during a live performance in Kelowna, British Columbia. When passerby Ben from BTCSessions, a Youtuber and Bitcoin (BTC) educator, saw that the band accepted Bitcoin, he had to send some magic internet money their way.

The Carbons’ guitar case. Source: Tomy, the frontman

Tomy (frontman for The Carbons) had been into crypto since 2017, but like many people new to crypto, he thought he’d “missed the boat.” The price per BTC was around $2500. He told Cointelegraph that he began research in earnest when he:

“Realized that it was basically an insurance policy for the current monetary system. At that point, it was around $8000. It’s been a wild ride since then, but I am playing the long game :)”

Fast forward to his live performance in Kelowna this weekend, and Tomy advertised he accepted crypto as payment. Unfortunately, his phone was out of juice at the time that Ben walked by, so the pair linked up on Instagram later on. As per the screenshots of the Instagram conversation, Tomy shared an Ethereum (ETH) address to receive a donation and become The Carbon’s first crypto donor.

Short story: saw a dude in Kelowna playing guitar with a sign asking for Bitcoin tips. His phone was dead but we linked up later online so I could tip. He offered an ETH address because he still thought bitcoin was slow/expensive.

Here’s our convo.
1/2 pic.twitter.com/Fx2Hu1mCyx

— BTC Sessions (@BTCsessions) July 18, 2022

However, as Ben is a Bitcoin maximalist, he said he’d be happy to send some Bitcoin–not Ethereum–his way. Ben told Cointelegraph that, among other things, it’s “The foundational rules that govern the network, and the ease (or lack thereof) with which they can be changed,” that guide his Bitcoin conviction.

Ben pointed Tomy towards downloading a Bitcoin Lightning wallet, and moments later, they were sending each other Bitcoin instantly over the Lightning Network (LN). Transaction costs are near free on the LN, and microtransactions are easy, which prompted Tomy’s response, “that’s fucking awesome.” By comparison, sending money over Ethereum–even at its lowest levels in two years–costs well over $1.

Tomy busking at sunset with the crypto sign in view. Source: Tomy

Tomy told Cointelegraph that it was his first experience using the LN, and it took “an hour of research on YouTube to decide on a wallet and then another few minutes to figure out how to use it.”

“I hadn’t heard about the Lightning Network until last week! It makes me want to trade all my Litecoin and ETH for Bitcoin!”

The Carbons have since received three BTC donations, adding that “all the tips help,” but it probably hasn’t moved the needle on their Spotify revenues just yet. Bitcoin expert Ben told Cointelegraph that he’s been using the Lightning Network since 2018, back when it was “clunky and difficult, but it worked.” LN has since become a part of his daily routine:

Undoubtedly, LN is well-known to the Bitcoin community and has spread roots across the globe. From settling up lunch in the United Kingdom to sorting out sim cards in Mozambique to paying for parties in Portland, United States, it’s gained traction.

Related: The UK ‘Bitcoin Adventure’ shows BTC is a family affair

However, awareness of the LN is weak among the crypto and broader community. Ben explains why this might be the case:

“There will be SOME who are incentivized to remain unaware because they are deeply invested into coins whose value is contingent on Bitcoin not being able to scale. However, most people likely just haven’t tried it!”

Ben encourages users to try out the LN, which he compares to “magic.” During the IG conversation with Tomy, he recommends using the Muun Wallet, a free self-custodial wallet for Android and iOS:

Just a little throwback here. I continue to really love @MuunWallet and its seamless singular balance, enabling to you send to on-chain and lightning without any additional hassles. Kudos.

MUUN BITCOIN WALLET – On Chain and Lightning Combined! https://t.co/jUSLhuj6IB

— BTC Sessions (@BTCsessions) February 18, 2022

As for Tomy, he told Cointelegraph he is now seriously considering selling all of his altcoins for Bitcoin. He then joked on Twitter that he might change the band’s name to “The Bitcoin Buskers.”

On a heartfelt note, and in light of the disastrous impact that the Covid-19 Pandemic has had on performing arts, Tomy told Cointelegraph, “It’s been a tough couple years for musicians,” adding that the support and community are greatly appreciated.