Bitcoin-to-gift card service Fold is now Lightning compatible. The company announced the news today on Twitter and Medium, keeping with the trend of fellow bitcoin-to-gift card exchange Bitrefill also supporting the option.
“This release changes the game of where we were for Layer 1 payments that were just unworkable for retail and the consumer. Lightning in this context proves that it’s just as easy— if not easier — to spend satoshis at all the major retailers,” Fold CEO Will Reeves told Bitcoin Magazine.
For the better half of 2019, Fold has offered its users pizza delivery with Lightning Pizza, but this integration is the first instance of Lightning integration for its flagship platform. Rather than buying store credit with on-chain bitcoin for services and stores like Amazon, REI, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Target and Uber, users now have the instant and cheap option of spending their sats through the Lightning Network.
“Instant, one-tap, private payments will unlock consumer spending for Bitcoin. We’ve seen that with Lightning Pizza, and now we’re going to see it here with Fold,” Reeves said.
Fold generates an invoice and its related QR code, which its users can satisfy from any Lightning wallet. Once the payment registers, the app reveals a code for online use or a barcode which can be used in store. Full node users will also have the option to open a payment channel directly with Fold’s Lightning node.
Making Bitcoin-to-Gift Card Purchases More User-Friendly
Reeves highlighted that Fold is working “with the Lightning community to solve onboarding issues” with the Lightning Network’s UX/UI.
“Onboarding people into LN is still an issue,” he expressed. “We’re working with all the wallets to give them information about how users are using their wallets and their service. We’re downstream, and we frequently get a lot of customer support requests upstream so we have a unique position there.”
Additionally, he said, to make bitcoin an attractive alternative to traditional payment systems, it doesn’t just need to be more seamless than a credit card — it needs to be more rewarding, too. This entails rolling out new retail partners in the coming months, as well as making it rewarding to spend bitcoin (Lightning Network sats-back program, anyone?). Fold is close, Reeves teased — so close that its next announcement should only be a month away.
“Let’s just say Fold is going to make spending through Fold more rewarding than spending through a credit card at a significant amount of major retailers,” he said.
It’s already got coffee (and groceries and everything else you can buy with Amazon covered), but soon, you might get some sats back for buying that vanilla frap — so, go ahead and treat yourself.
Colin is an associate editor and staff writer for Bitcoin Magazine. He's proud to call Nashville his home, where he spends his days shouting at peddle taverns and trying to find affordable parking downtown. If it wasn't already obvious, he holds bitcoin.