The definitive guide to BTCPay Server pt. 3 Versatility
This is part 3 in a series on BTCPay server.
In part one of our series we interviewed Pavlenex, of Bitcoinshirt.co, about his first-hand experience with BTCPay, as an e-commerce store owner, and project contributor.
In part two we delved deeper into BTCPay server itself and gave you the resources to get one deployed for your own e-commerce business.
Today, in part3, we will be addressing some of BTCPays groundbreaking features. We’ll be taking a look at a couple of BTCPay apps, and some very useful software integrations that will make your BTCPay user experience a lot richer.
One of BTCPay’s coolest features is its apps. So far only a few have been implemented, but they are very powerful none the less. BTCPay developers are hard at work on adding more apps for the BTCPay platform as well. BTCPay is truly putting the power back in your hands.
If you’ve ever worked in a coffee shop, bar or waited tables, then you’re probably familiar with touchscreen Point of Sale (POS) systems. More recently with the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets, we have seen mobile POS systems appear at locations that were previously cash only, like farmers markets and the concession stand at the local little league game.
BTCPay is making this possible for you, without any fees or middlemen extracting their cut. This app allows you to use BTCPay’s POS on any device that can connect to the web. This is a painless way to integrate both Bitcoin on-chain payments, and Lightning network payments into your brick and mortar location, or on-location at any event. The app is fully customizable and includes a shopping cart feature, tips, custom payment options and more. This will allow you to make retail sales, and accept donations all in Bitcoin, in the real world, not just online.
Crowdfunding has truly changed the way people fundraise for a wide range of reasons. Some raise funds for charitable causes, others to finance an invention or small business startup plan. Sites like Kickstarter, Gofundme and Indiegogo have become household names.
BTCPay has an app that allows you to be your own crowdfunding platform. This is such a powerful thing for charities, political groups, community organizations, clubs, recreational sports teams, meetups, and small businesses. The creator of the campaign owns and controls the platform itself. All funds raised go directly to the Bitcoin wallet of the campaign creator without any fees taken. Anyone can now raise funds for any political cause they wish without fear of being deplatformed. This in itself is extremely important. I am looking at you, Wikileaks.
Here is a link to a video tutorial on how to use BTCPay’s crowdfund app.
The crowdfunding app itself is super easy to use. The app offers quite a few options allowing you to customize your campaigns fully, and even features sounds and animations.In about 5 minutes I was able to create a live crowdfunding campaign that accepts Bitcoin and layer 2 Lightning Network payments. This is the crowdfunding campaign pictured above. You can check it out here if you’d like to contribute.
I actually didn’t even know about this one until I started researching for this article. I am going to have to implement this into my site. I was actually looking for something like this yesterday.
BTCPay has an app to include a highly customizable HTML payment button into your site. With one-click, you can display a BTCPay invoice for customers to make payments or donations.
Here’s a video tutorial for you visual learners.
LApps are also known as Lightning Applications because someone thought it would be cute to riff off of the more widely known DApps abbreviation for decentralized applications.
LApps specifically refer to Lightning Applications built with Lightning Charge, a package of development tools created by Nadav Ivgi. LApps and Lightning Charge use Blockstream’s C-lightning implementation of the Lightning Network. BTCPay also has a one-click install for Lightning Charge.
There are quite a few LApps available to C-Lightning users, all of which should be very easy to connect to your BTCPay C-Lightning node.
Here’s a video demonstrating how to do it.
Here is a list of LApps that have been released or that are in development:
c-lightning is a specification-compliant LN implementation in C, under the Elements Project
Blockstream store (mainnet): Bitcoin paraphernalia that can only be purchased over LN.
Lightning Charge: A drop-in solution for accepting lightning payments
WooCommerce Plugin: Original c-lightning version of the Gateway plugin to accept Lightning payments at WooCommerce stores, based on Lightning Charge.
Week of Lapps built on Lightning Charge by Nadav Idgi.
Nanopos — A simple point-of-sale system for fixed-price goods
FileBazaar — A system for selling files such as documents, images, and videos
Lightning Publisher for WordPress — A patronage model for unlocking WordPress blog entries
Paypercall — A programmer’s toolkit for Lightning that enables micropayments for individual API calls
Ifpaytt — An extension of paypercall that allows web developers using IFTTT to request payments for service usage
Lightning Jukebox — A fun demo that reimagines a classic technology for the Lightning Network
Nanotip — The simple tip jar, rebuilt to issue Lightning Network invoices
BitcoinLightning.shop: Shop with Bitcoin Lightning, built on BTCPay and the c-lightning WooCommerce Plugin
Elaine Ou’s Twitter bot: Pay for likes, retweets, and follows
LibrePatron is a BTCPay compatible integration that allows you to become your own self-hosted, censorship-resistant Patreon alternative. This means deplatforming and demonetization as a means of financial censorship is now no longer feasible.
The power this puts in the hands of content creators is awesome. LibrePatron is brand new, so it’s an alpha version right now. This is bleeding edge software that has the potential to shake the foundations of the internet by routing around the current hostility to freedom of speech and expression.
Jeff Vandrew the developer of LibrePatron, was really, really cool, and spent a few days of his time helping me get LibrePatron up and running with a prototype one-click installer he has been working on for a LIbrePatron integration with Luna Node hosting. This means that soon when you deploy a BTCPay server with Luna Node’s two-click auto launcher, you’ll be able to also launch LibrePatron at the exact same time. I want to thank Jeff again, for his patience and assistance in helping me implement LibrePatron into this site.
Use LibrePatron at your own risk as it is still in the very early stages of development. That’s an obligatory disclaimer, because I am using it and it seems to work just fine. There is still some finishing touches that it needs but it’s a pretty complete platform as it stands.
- It allows you to pair the platform to your BTCPay with an access token.
- It has an easy to use landing page feature which has a wordpress/medium style interface.
- It supports integration for Google Analytics so you can analyze data about where your donations are coming from (like Patreon).
- Allows you to securely accept monthly Bitcoin donations w/o address reuse.
- You can set the subscription levels and donation amounts.
- You can moderate comments from your Patrons
- There is a Square Cash App integration which allows you to also accept Fiat donations.
- There is an SMTP mail integration for automated notifications
I will be doing a separate article focused solely on LibrePatron because it is such an awesome and powerful addition to your BTCPay server. This truly allows content creators to be paid directly by their audience with no rent-seeking fees, and no fear of being shut down because somebody became triggered and got offended.
LibrePatron will soon be available for Luna Node’s auto launcher, but until then here is a link to the LibrePatron Github which has an easy docker installation.
The LibrePatron page pictured above is the live Bitcoin main net Coincache.net LibrePatron page.
BTCPay Quickbooks online connector
Jeff Vandrew has been busy. Not only did he create the amazing LibrePatron platform highlighted above, but he has also created an integration for connecting Quickbooks to your BTCPay server. Quickbooks is an extremely popular platform for keeping track of your business accounting needs.
Here is a link to the Quickbooks online connector for BTCPay.
I haven’t started using this feature yet. I will be implemneting it into this site soon, and I will post about my experience doing so.
Using Quickbooks is beyond the scope of this article so check them out if you want to integrate accounting software with your BTCPay payment processor.
Lightning Joule Browser Extension
Lightning Joule is awesome. It’s a Lightning Network wallet interface that links directly to your own node on your BTCPay Server. It works with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, with a Brave extension in the works. You can get Joule downloaded and installed and configured in under 5 minutes.
My personal experience with it is that I love it. It’s so convenient to be able to spend Bitcoin instantly with Lightning through a wallet in the browser, you can also manage your channels and top off your Lightning Wallet by depositing BTC.
The best way I can describe it, is like the Metamask Ethereum wallet browser extension, except it doesn’t suck and works as it should without frustrating bugs, has a way better user interface, uses Lightning Network and doesn’t use shitcoins.
Here is a link to download Joule.
Zap Wallet integration
Zap wallet is a neat little lightning wallet for the LND Lightning Network implementation. It was created by Jack Mallers. It’s easy to use and really simple to install. You can integrate it into your BTCPay as a wallet interface for your own Lightning node, and it also works compatibly with Lightning Joule too!
Here’s a link to download Zap wallet.
Spark Wallet integration
Spark Wallet is a minimalistic wallet interface for C-Lightning. You can use it as the interface for your own node similar to Zap and Joule covered above. I have never used Spark wallet personally since I am running LND and not C-Lightning. That being said Spark looks like a nice little wallet.
Spark wallet depends on spark server. Spark server can be installed as part of the docker-compose of btcpay, which make it as easy as btcpay to deploy.
— BTCPay Server (@BtcpayServer) August 29, 2018
Tweet about Spark wallet from BTCPay
Since I have no personal experience with Spark I will simply link you to some resources and you can check it out for yourself.
Here is Spark’s Github which has installation instructions and links to where you can download Spark Wallet.
Here is a video showing how to integrate with BTCPay.
BTCPay Atomic Swaps (Coming Soon)
While BTCPay does offer support for Changelly and Coinswitch allowing merchants to easily change Bitcoin to shitcoins or vice versa, these are both centralized solutions. Changelly recently began requiring AML/KYC which makes it an enemy of your financial privacy and freedom. The way they implemented the change in policy was really shady, as a result, it was extremely controversial. Shapeshift also implemented AML/KYC around the same time.
In the interests of maintaining BTCPay’s dedication to censorship-resistance, self-sovereignty, and decentralization, developer Nicolas Dorier announced that Atomic Swaps would soon be added as a new app to BTCPay. This would mean that anyone with a BTCPay server could become their own cryptocurrency exchange assuming they have the funds to provide liquidity. This would make the cryptocurrency trading markets extremely liquid and hard to interfere with. I am not really too knowledgeable about the fine print but you can learn more by watching this presentation on atomic swaps to get a much more comprehensive explanation.
Interview with Nicolas Dorier about BTCPay Atomic Swaps.
This concludes our series of posts on BTCPay server. I hope these posts helped you realize just how powerfully this platform will impact e-commerce and the freedom of the internet in general. BTCPay is a sleeper candidate for one of the most important projects in Bitcoin. It has quietly been building a really amazing platform for financial freedom.
BTCPay has made so many wonderful advancements, so fast, that people have not even begun to wrap their heads around what you can actually do with this amazing tool.
When I first started playing around with BTCPay, my jaw dropped. I was like, wait a minute, you mean I can be my own Bitcoin bank, BTC PayPal, BTC retail POS, BTC Kickstarter, and BTC Patreon while accepting Lightning payments instantly? WTF????
Anyone can sign up at my BTCPay Server and process their Bitcoin payments for free. This is an open invite to anyone who wants to start accepting Bitcoin, and does not want deploy their own BTCPay Server.
The possibilities that BTCPay puts in the palm of your hand are incredible. You can literally have the same type of platforms as some of the most successful companies on the internet. You can do all of this almost for free, and without asking permission from anyone. You can accept Bitcoin from a global audience, and BTCPay is actively trying to solve the Fiat/Bitcoin exchange problem for users that must meet certain financial obligations in their local currencies.
It was such a powerful feeling for me to set all of this stuff up for my site, that I felt compelled to write these articles to try to get others up to speed with what BTCPay really is. It is a platform that has the potential to completely shatter the current paradigm of online commerce. The disruption is strong with this one.
If you found this interview entertaining or useful, and feel led to support our site, you can do so by purchasing something from one of our site partners in our shop or making a micro-donation via Lightning Network.