Breez on iOS: A Big Step towards the Lightning Economy and a Giant Leap for Breez

Roy Sheinfeld
Jun 17, 2019 · 4 min read

Breez is proud (and giddy as a schoolgirl!) to release its beta for iPhone. This is the next step towards the Lightning economy. Let me tell you why.

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Omigod! Omigod! Omigod! (Source: the best Lightning client in the world)

When people talk about “visions” in business, they don’t usually see much further than their own venture — how to succeed in their own little niche and what their own success looks like. Our vision is broader. It encompasses our business, our market, our society, our world.

We foresee the Lightning economy.

That’s not a forecast, because a forecast is based on data and comes with a margin of uncertainty. It’s not a dream, because dreams are the dreamer’s own subjective fantasies. It’s foresight because we see what’s coming. Bitcoin is better than any other currency, fiat or crypto.

Whether you trust in progress as the product of human reason or in evolutionary pressures to favor the fittest, bitcoin comes out on top.

But we’re not there yet. Bitcoin has always had the best organizational principles and the best architecture, but it’s been waiting for technology to catch up. Like the gold it’s often compared to, bitcoin has until recently been easy to store but expensive, cumbersome, and difficult to move.

As bitcoin becomes more mobile, it will be become more useful, and more people will use it. This economy hinges on bitcoin’s mobility. So how do we make bitcoin mobile?

In a word: Lightning.

So what does a Lightning economy look like?

In a Lightning economy, people trade money for goods and services. Intermediaries — banks, credit cards, online payment processors, and custodians of any kind — are obsolete. All that remains are the people, trading with each other anywhere, anytime, free to do what each of them thinks is best with their own money. Scale is no longer a concern. Transactions are virtually instantaneous and practically free. The people are free too. Finally.

Our latest Lightning-economy infographic. (Source: wikimedia)

What sets this economy apart are the peer-to-peer structure and its scalability. Custodial wallets — the ones that take users’ money on trust and charge them for the privilege, the ones basically reinventing the fiat model but that charge their users for taking their money instead of paying them interest for it — have no place in the Lightning economy. If it’s not peer-to-peer, it’s not really Lightning.

The Lightning economy scales so fluidly because transactions are off chain. Users can either run their own full nodes, or they can use non-custodial clients to connect them to the network without taking their money. Still, Lightning payment channels, which are the skeleton of the Lightning Network, stay connected to the bitcoin mainnet, giving users all the benefits of bitcoin without the expense and delays.

The Lightning economy makes bitcoin suitable for (almost) all transactions, including (finally) paying for an Uber, downloading a single song, or just buying a burrito at lunchtime. Lightning is less filling, but still tastes great.

Breez is already well-positioned to usher in the Lightning economy. In just two months, our open beta for Android has gained hundreds of new users, who have used it to send thousands of payments. Fully non-custodial, it was the first Lightning client to implement Neutrino. And with Android we can reach about 75% of mobile users worldwide.

Welcome iPhone users!

Despite our rapid success, we knew that we were missing something. Android’s 75% of the mobile OS market is clearly the right place to start, but what about the rest?

Together, Android and iOS cover 98.01% of the mobile market. With our new beta client for the iPhone, that 98.01% is our new goal. It’s a giant leap towards realizing the Lightning economy. We can now help almost everyone use Lightning cheaply and effortlessly. (And since iPhone users tend to be early adopters, they’ll probably help us reach our goal too.)

iPhone users will enjoy all of Breez’s features from the Android client: Connect-to-pay for P2P payments, creating and paying Lightning invoices, choice of BIP 157 validating node, a background channels watcher, adding funds via Submarine Swaps — the works. With Flutter managing the frontend and Go for the business logic, crossing over to iPhone was a smooth, natural move. See for yourself.

The only noticeable difference is that if the user force quits the app, the background watcher may stop working. But fear not, iOS users, we’ve got your back. If your background watcher sleeps for more than 72 hours, you’ll automatically receive a notification to wake it up. With a refund period of a week, users’ funds are never at risk. The next step will be to improve security and the UX with the help of watchtowers.

The only thing remaining would be a non-custodial point-of-sale client that delivers all these benefits to merchants — the ones who, after all, receive most of the payments.

Bonus post-credits scene

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(Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Hey, Thor! Now that Breez is on the iPhone, all they need is a non-custodial point-of-sale app, and they’ll be unstoppable!

Nonsense! Not even a god can move that fast!

[Breez — off camera]:

Breez Technology

Breez is developing a Lightning Network client & hub to…

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