$2 000 USD





"The Lightning Torch is a game where a participant sends a Lightning Network transaction to other participants around the globe. The participant then adds some Satoshis to the original transaction amount and passes it on to another participant. The game was originally devised as a way to test Lightning Network viability and channel transaction limits."


"Twitter user Hodlonaut started the LNTrustChain. Together with FartFace2000 they kicked into life, one of LightningNetworks first and most enjoyed community projects." "The experiment has been making an impression on the community; so far, Andreas Antonopoulos has been in on it, and most recently, at the time of this writing, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey even took up the flame from Matt Odell."


"A lightning network payment has been making global rounds on Bitcoin’s secondary layer. The payment, slowly accumulating in value with each passing, is 3.69 million satoshis strong and still going. Dubbed the Lightning Torch, the payment has changed hands nearly 150 times across 49 countries. Since this article was published, it's even been to space after SatoshiLabs/Trezor CTO Pavol Rusnak broadcast an invoice through Blockstream's satellite network to pick up the torch from Blockstream CSO Samson Mow."


"He may have haphazardly thrown it out, but the community very intentionally caught and carried it on. Hodlonaut’s impulsive act of experimentation has developed into a full-fledged social experiment and movement. After reaching its first bearer, the transnational torch has been routed through each continent (save Antarctica, which would be too impressive) and 39 countries, including the bulk of the EU. Despite its creator initially believing that it “would go 4, 5, 6 hops and someone would take it and no one would [care],” the torch has passed between 139 unique users 149 times."


"On two separate occasions, users have treated the torch as a personal boon rather than a community exercise, confirming hodlonaut’s fears that greed may put the torch out. These opportunists have claimed the funds for themselves, refusing to conform to the precedence of passing it along. Their attempts to snuff out the flame, however, have only made it stronger and emboldened the community’s resolve."


"The first time, a few days in, the torch was lit with 250k satoshis ($8.60 USD), when one recipient took it for themselves. To salvage the situation, the sender decided to relight the torch with their own funds and resend it to a more trustworthy user. The same story happened the second go-around at 2.51 million satoshis ($86 USD). This time, the taker justified his actions with a tweet that read, “I’ll seize it because I can, and no one can stop me,” which hodlonaut interpreted as meaning that you shouldn’t trust anything but code."


"Bitcoin’s second Lightning Torch has been stolen 4 times by various pseudonymous Twitter members with an interest in Bitcoin." "This time around, the torch has been stolen by less trustworthy participants several times. In order to keep it going, the participants who passed it to the thieves have replaced the funds out of their own pockets, and then resent it to another more trustworthy participant. This theft has almost achieved meme status, as Hodlonaut points out, with the subsequent thefts almost certainly being copycats."


"The organic nature of the initiative and the community’s willingness to sacrifice personal funds to keep it going have made the experiment in community trust a success. Hodlonaut said that this shows both an increasing interest in lightning and the resolve of a community sparked by an exciting new technology, even in the harsh market climate."

Lighting is a payment network which allows instant and low cost bitcoin payments. The lightning torch was a proposal to keep passing the same funds around from person to person, with each intermediate hop picking the most trustworthy next person to take the torch. While most people behaved honestly, inevitably, in such a scheme, some of the users would take the funds. In order to keep the chain going, these funds had to be reimbursed by the sender multiple times.

Sources And Further Reading

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