If someone had asked me a year ago if I thought my hobby would turn into what I do today, I would have thought that was a joke.
I have been very fortunate with this opportunity to be part of the lightning network growth. So far, the nontechnical work I do involves: creating content for the most recognized Spanish-speaking LN community, LatiNodos.social , performing collaborations with some of the leading Lightning services & Bitcoin developers / content creators, and even receiving invites to real-life international events (Adopting Bitcoin in El Salvador). From a more technical perspective, I think it is amazing that my small, pleb node has become a sought-after liquidity source!
This is the lightning network, an ever-developing field that keeps me engaged and very excited about its present and future.
Here we are; more than a year has passed since I started my journey in “La Lightning Network” as I call it in Spanish. I would like to share a couple of stories because the lightning network is literally social - a node needs another node to complete a payment. Storytelling has brought us together since the time “real” lightning gave us fire thousands of years ago, so let’s dive in.
First, let me start with a scary story; it involves (almost) losing a couple of millions of sats to curiosity. As you may know by now, the lightning network technology is an evolving field. Existing tools are great - and being used to allow real-life payments worldwide - so it becomes easy to forget most of them are still in the testing phase.
So what happened? In brief, I tried to update some tools without performing a proper backup, locking some BTC in my node - felt them so close, yet so far. After searching for desperate support for days, an anonymous member of a lightning community helped me recover access to the sats. Lesson learned: first, be a CAUTIOUS curious cat, and second, talk to people - the communities are open and helpful! Talking about communities, shoutout to all lightning-focused communities out there - if you are a builder, an early adopter or anyone involved in helping develop the environment and promote adoption, a big thanks!
Many more stories relate to the countless happy and very good moments shared with other enthusiasts and learners - for instance solving together a technical issue, or answering questions about using lightning. I always feel a happiness rush every time a podcast listener or someone visiting my Twitter profile sends a tip- thanks to the Alby lightning address - it gives me a clear sign that the value I provide them is worth some sats to them!
The importance of user-friendly tools and friendly builders
Furthermore, lightning very quickly becomes a social field: by participating in online voice chats and study groups (like Spanish-focused “La Libreria de Satoshi”), organizing trivia games & sats giveaways - remember the Twitter campaigns #AlbyTippingTuesday of the #FiestadeSats⚡️? - or playing videogames while earning some sats.
Of course, these experiences would not be possible without the easy-to-use tools existing today. And here I can only support Alby’s work for achieving not only a community for builders and creators but an interoperable, effective tool - this is the way to “pollenize the web with bitcoin”. Shout-out to the Alby’s call organizers and participants - where all sorts of updates and fun moments are shared, builders deserve all the value and recognition.
It is fascinating to know the lightning network journey is already hosting hundreds (probably thousands) of people just like you, using it for everything from casual entertainment to education / upskilling or real-life payments and remittances!
Many lightning enthusiasts, just like yours truly, are motivated to help onboard as many people as possible and collaborate with others. I wish for further development, especially in the social and educative sense, which enables more feedback for real-world practical use cases in the technical development environment. This should allow for an adoption flywheel effect to kick in: better tools result in higher usage, and higher usage incentivizes more quality education and better tools…
If you are just getting started, don’t worry - it is never too late to join your first community call, attend a meetup or send some sats to support your favorite content creator (wink). This is a great moment to build tools, ask questions and enjoy the evolving environment! With a very enthusiastic feeling, there is only one thing left to say from my side for now: Bravo lightning network, and let's keep the party going! 🎉
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