Michael Saylor, founder of software technology company MicroStrategy who is now a well-known Bitcoin maximalist, says his email address now receives Bitcoin (BTC).
In a tweet, Saylor shared that MicroStrategy converted his corporate email address at the company, email@example.com, into what’s called a ‘Bitcoin Lightning Address’.
What is a Bitcoin Lightning Address?
First developed by software engineer André Neves and Nostr founder Fiatjaf, the Lightning Address allows a user to turn their email addresses into an “internet identifier”. The identifier then sends and receives BTC easily.
Prior to the Lightning Address, BTC transactions were usually completed via the ‘traditional’ method. A user has to first own a crypto wallet, input the receiver’s wallet address, the amount of BTC they intend to send over, and confirm the transaction.
The Lightning Address is coupled with the powerful Bitcoin Lightning Network, a layer two blockchain protocol. As the word “lightning” suggests, the Lightning Network’s main strength is that it is able to greatly speed up Bitcoin transactions.
It is also capable of processing a large volume of Bitcoin transactions. According to the Lightning Network’s research paper, the Bitcoin blockchain supports less than seven transactions per second. The Lightning Network, on the other hand, can handle “millions to billions of transactions per second.”
Michael Saylor’s tweet shows that people have been sending him 21 ‘satoshis’, which is the smallest denomination of BTC. Currently, one satoshi is worth around US$0.00635 (AU$0.0094).
Saylor’s unyielding BTC strategy
Known for his unwavering support for Bitcoin, Michael Saylor has made headlines for his extreme BTC bets for MicroStrategy.
In April 2020, Saylor bought 21,450 BTC at the price of US$11,650 (AU$17,310) per coin at the time for MicroStrategy. As of April 2023, MicroStrategy holds 138,000 BTC worth around US$30,200 (AU$44,280) each, for a grand total of US$4.17 billion (AU$6.2 billion).
One the subject of Lightning Addresses, Saylor recently tweeted the claim that they “will be as common as email” for regular users. In emailed comments to The Chainsaw, Dr. Qiang Tang, Senior Lecturer at Sydney University’s School of Computer Science, says that “from a usability point of view, [Lightning Addresses are] nice and more convenient, but for security-sensitive users, they probably would still have conservations.”
“Users have to fully trust the custody provider (of the Lightning Address service), and need to be careful choosing who they’ll get this service from.” Dr. Qiang says.
“It could be adopted by big exchange platforms such as Coinbase, [but it is] not clear how [we are able] to do it in DEX (decentralised exchanges) yet,” he added.