Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced today that the crypto exchange will integrate the Bitcoin Lightning Network, a layer-2 solution aimed at enabling faster and cheaper BTC transactions. The decision comes after months of scrutiny from the Bitcoin community, including high-profile critics like Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter and CEO of Block Inc.
In a tweet, Armstrong stated, “The team did a great job digging into this, and we’ve made the decision to integrate Lightning. Bitcoin is the most important asset in crypto and we’re excited to do our part to enable faster/cheaper Bitcoin transactions. Will take some time to integrate so please be patient.”
Coinbase Will Integrate The Lightning Network
The announcement by Armstrong came in response to a tweet by Viktor Bunin, a protocol specialist at Coinbase Cloud, who is leading the effort to integrate the Lightning Network into Coinbase’s platform. Bunin tweeted, “Friends, I’m happy to say that I’m leading up this effort. DM me if you’d like to grab some time to chat Lightning support at Coinbase. Particularly keen to get insights on lift to add support, UX flows, open source tooling, service providers, and edge cases. Thanks!”
Bunin’s tweet indicates that Coinbase is taking a comprehensive approach to the integration, focusing on various aspects such as user experience, open-source tooling, and potential edge cases. In a brief exchange on Twitter, a user asked Bunin to support unified QR codes to simplify user experience. Bunin responded, “Yeah that seems to be the play from a very cursory look.” He also revealed, “We’re just starting on the hard bit now – doing the actual integration.”
Remarkably, Coinbase has faced criticism for its perceived lack of support for Bitcoin and its layer-2 solutions. For the first time in April this year, Coinbase mulled over an integration of the Lightning network. After that, there was radio silence for a long time.
In early August, Jack Dorsey tweeted at Armstrong, “Why do you continue to ignore Bitcoin and Lightning? What ‘crypto’ is a better money transmission protocol and why?” Armstrong’s latest announcement appears to directly address these concerns, reaffirming Coinbase’s commitment to the Bitcoin ecosystem.
What This Means For Bitcoin
Coinbase, with its reported user base of over 100 million, is set to become one of the largest platforms to integrate the Lightning Network. First proposed in 2016, the Lightning Network allows for off-chain transactions that eventually settle on Bitcoin’s mainnet, thereby reducing transaction costs and times. Coinbase joins other top-tier exchanges like Binance, Kraken, and Bitfinex in supporting this layer-2 solution.
While Armstrong did not provide a specific timeline for the integration, the announcement is a significant milestone for both Coinbase and the community, potentially paving the way for increased adoption of the Lightning Network.
At press time, BTC traded at $25,959.