Today, thanks to Joule Allowances, a new web-based tool that uses Lightning Network, it is actually possible to use BTC as a fast, convenient and automatic payment option.

From the very beginning of its ten-year career, Bitcoin has tried to keep its promise of being a great tool for frequent, fast and low-cost payments.

However, this has always been difficult to achieve on the main blockchain, as a single block is mined approximately every 10 minutes.

Browser extension

The programmer and co-founder of Grant.io, Willie O’Beirne, recently showed on Medium the functioning of Joule Allowances.

Joule Allowances is a WebLN-enabled browser extension that uses the user’s Lightning Network node to enable automatic BTC micropayments in the background.

WebLN is an open source library that facilitates secure communications between apps and Lightning Network nodes of users.

To execute automatic BTC micropayments with Joule Allowances, the user will require a compatible web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox or Opera. Soon, also Brave will be compatible.

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The user will have the option of adjusting several parameters. For example, users will be able to set the maximum amount of satoshi that the application can use, the maximum amount for each individual payment and the maximum frequency of payments that can be made in a given period of time.

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For each automatic payment, it will be possible to receive a notification with the amount spent and the balance remaining on the wallet.

Reducing congestion in the Bitcoin network

According to Bitcoinfees.earn.com, the fee for a transaction with the best speed/cost ratio is 72 satoshi/byte. For an average transaction size of 225 bytes, the fees correspond to 16,200 satoshi (about $1.5).

However, thanks to the spread of Lighting Network and SegWit we are witnessing a reduction in network congestion, both in terms of scalability and transaction costs.