Transactions per second: Lightning Network vs Apple Pay and Mastercard
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Transactions per second: Lightning Network vs Apple Pay and Mastercard

By Stefania Stimolo - 8 Feb 2019

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On February 5th, Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano launched a challenge for the number of transactions per second. The challenge was presented as Lightning Network vs. Apple Pay and Mastercard.

“The Lightning Network is so fast. I wouldn’t be surprised if transactions go from wallet to wallet faster than the time it takes for a credit card machine to process the chip on a card that gets inserted. Someone should run a test to time it and record the whole thing on video.”

A great call to the community to record and show in a video the reality of the facts about the speed of transactions using Lightning Network technology, in order to demonstrate the actual speed in the number of transactions per second compared to all circuits that use chips and POS.

There have been a lot of comments, but among all of them, there is Anthony Bayss who invited the Australian JP Thor to proceed with the demonstration.

Two days later, in fact, JP Thor published an article describing his test and results, stating that

sending a payment across the LN will always be faster than Visa because a Visa payment involves an auth with a third party“.

For the test JP Thor chose:

  • The Mastercard debit card with Apple Pay offered by the Australian UpBanking;
  • WoS Wallet of Satoshi – as a custodial Lightning wallet configurable on mobile devices;
  • BlueWallet with LNDHub, testing the sovereign version (not yet available in the mobile version) and the custodial version.

Since Thor could not compare the three methodologies based only on the transaction itself, he decided to carry out two separate tests.

The first test measured the full duration for the execution of these operations: downloading the application, setting up the account, activating payments and adding funds with PayID.

Lightning Network vs Apple Pay and Mastercard

Lightning Network vs. Apple Pay and Mastercard: who wins?

The final result was explained in the following way:

In summary, Wallet of Satoshi offers a comparable onboarding experience and speed as the leading mobile bank in Australia, with a setup time with funds in-channel of 5 minutes. Unfortunately, non-custodial wallets (BlueWallet) are out of reach for mobile currently.

The second test, on the other hand, refers only to payment time, taking into account the current practical scenario in the commercial environment, i.e. also testing the experiences of the user and merchant.

  • Payment onlyApple Pay is a couple of seconds faster than WoS. Should improve with a better Wallet UX (NFC + Widget).
  • Full transaction: Apple Pay + Eftpos is a few seconds faster, including the set up time of the merchant. Should improve with more PoS options on the market.
  • Onboard User: Almost comparable. UX can improve on the WoS side.
  • Merchant Onboard: Faster days for Bitcoin. Getting an Eftpos terminal will be getting slower and slower. (The clear winner of the speed here is the Bitcoin solution. Merchants should be encouraged to adopt Bitcoin payments)

In essence, in the complete scenario of the challenge, Apple Pay is still faster in payments but by a matter of seconds. Since there are more PoS options in the market, WoS and BlueWallet should improve their times.

Stefania Stimolo
Stefania Stimolo

Graduated in Marketing and Communication, Stefania is an explorer of innovative opportunities. She started out as a Sales Assistant for e-commerce, and in 2016 she began to develop a passion for the digital world, initially in the Network Marketing sector, where she discovered and became passionate about the ideals behind Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, which lead her to work as a copywriter and translator for ICO projects and blogs, and organize introductory courses.

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