We are close to the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Lightning Network (beta), which marks a milestone for the second-layer Bitcoin scaling solution that enables lightning-fast, cheap, off-chain bitcoin transactions.
While bitcoin users across the globe are rejoicing at being able to use the digital currency as a low-cost spending currency again, the Lightning Network also enables bitcoin users to potentially make money in the “Lightning Economy”.
Running a Lightning Node
Arguably, the best way to contribute to the Lightning Economy and generate revenue via the Lightning Network is by running a Lightning node.
A Lightning node enables users to set up Lightning payment channels that other users can utilize to process payments across the Lightning Network. In exchange for operating a channel, users are rewarded via transaction fees, which Lightning node operators can set themselves.
While the amount you can make by operating a Lightning node will not make you wealthy, the few hundred dollars per year you can expect to make at the current size of the Bitcoin Lightning Network can be seen as a small reward for contributing to the scalability and success of Bitcoin.
Receiving Tips via Tippin.Me
Perhaps the easiest and most user-friendly way to make money with the Lightning Network is to set up a Tippin.me account to receive tips on social media via the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
When Tippin.me first appeared on the market in February 2019, LN tips became very popular on Twitter – partly thanks to an endorsement by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. While the enthusiasm to test out the Lightning Network via tipping has since died down, you will still find LN enthusiasts who will happily tip newcomers and those who contribute to the discussion around the Lightning Network.
Create Content on Y’Alls
Y’Alls is a content platform that enables users to receive micropayments via the LN as a reward for the content they contribute.
It is still early days for Y’Alls, which means the platform is lacking a large enough user base for contributors to earn a sizable income from publishing on the site. However, Y’Alls provides an excellent platform for anyone in the world to earn a few satoshi’s for posting valuable content.
Earn Sats for Microtasks
Microtask platforms were very popular in the early days of bitcoin because they enabled newcomers to get their hands on their first satoshis without having to sign up on an exchange to make a purchase.
Microlancer, Earn Sats, and Paid App are examples of microtask platforms that are leveraging the Lightning Network to make fast and low-cost bitcoin payouts. Tasks range from app reviews and filling out surveys to data entry and translations.
While microtask platforms, as well as faucets, will not fill your pockets with millions of satoshis, they provide an avenue to (slowly) start “stacking sats” for anyone across the globe with an internet connection.
Upload Videos to Light Tube
Light Tube is a YouTube-like web-based platform that enables users to upload videos in exchange for BTC payments via the Lightning Network.
Users who want to watch a video in high-quality will have to pay the prescribed amount (usually 100 satoshis). Conversely, uploaders can redeem the amount their videos have generated via LN payments.
As it is still early days for Light Tube, there is only a small amount of video content available on the platform, and its user base is modest. Nonetheless, as Light Tube benefits from the growth of the Lightning Network and, hopefully, manages to attract more users, it could provide a nice avenue for video content creators to earn a handful of satoshis for their efforts. For new content creators with a limited following, that would still be more than YouTube would pay them.
Sell Photos for Satoshis
Bitcoin4Photos provides a zero-fee marketplace for individuals to buy and sell stock images via the Bitcoin Lightning Network. If you have a knack for photography and want to earn bitcoin in exchange for your work, you can offer your images on the Bitcoin4Photos platform.
The adoption of Lightning Network payments combined with the platform’s zero-fee model enables users to earn effectively the full fee they charge for their images.
Unlike many of the revenue-generating methods mentioned in this list, selling stock images on Bitcoin4Photos could actually generate a sizable amount of pocket money provided the platform continues to grow its user base.
Get Companies to Pay for Your Data
The application trakkin.me is a browser extension (available for Brave, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera) that enables users to anonymize themselves online while requesting payments in bitcoin in exchange for their browsing data.
Most websites track your browsing behavior so that they can tailor their digital advertising efforts towards you. However, you are not being rewarded for giving away your personal data. Trakkin aims to change that by leveraging the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
Instead of gaining access to your browsing data, a company will receive an RFP (request for payment) on their Google Analytics or Mixpanel dashboards. Once the company has paid the Lightning invoice, the data flow will resume as it normally would. Trakkin then pays the user based on usage.
As the application is new and LN adoption is low, it is difficult to say whether you will earn much (or anything) with Trakkin at this point in time. However, if more and more people use trakkin or similar pay-for-your-data apps, companies will be forced to take action and have to start paying for your personal data.
Currently, the number of ways you can make money in the Lightning Economy is still fairly limited. However, as the Lightning Economy continues to grow, we can expect more revenue-generating opportunities to appear.