The American television channel CNBC has sent bitcoins to a Ukrainian in Poland. To do this, they used the Lightning Network, a second layer around Bitcoin that is specifically designed to process transactions quickly.
The title of the attached article is revealing:
“We sent bitcoins from Miami to a Ukrainian in Poland who withdrew them in cash, all in less than three minutes.”
It works as well as expected.
The recipient was Alena Vorobiova and her face at the end of the video is very revealing. Bitcoin developer Gleb Naumenko helped execute the transaction, MacKenzie Sigalos represented CNBC. Here’s a quick takeaway from Sigalos:
“The bottom line is that it really works as well as bitcoiners say it does. The process of downloading a crypto wallet on Vorobiova’s phone, sending bitcoins via the Lightning Network from the US to Poland, and withdrawing the equivalent in Polish currency via a bitcoin ATM in Wrocław took less than three minutes.” .
That’s faster than you can come up with a mom joke about this.
How much money has CNBC sent?
According to CNBC, “Lenders often charge a transfer fee of 10% or more when you send $100 from the US to Ukraine.”
Due to the war, Vorobiova, the recipient, is currently in Wroclaw, Poland. There are fifteen bitcoin ATMs there. Fortunately, at least one of them supported Lightning transactions. The transaction is paid at 5.5%.
“He ended up with 170 zloty, the Polish currency, which is worth about 100,000 sats or 40 dollars. The ATM company charged a fee of 10 zloty, or about 5.5% of the total transaction.”
easy to swap
Therefore, the costs incurred are the responsibility of the operator of the bitcoin ATM. For this, users get something in return, namely an easy way to convert lightning bitcoin into the local currency.
According to CNBC, the transaction on the Lightning Network cost only a fraction of a penny. No matter how much you send, or to anyone in the world, the lightning network cost is negligible.
“In Poland, for example, there are more than 175 bitcoin ATMs, allowing refugees who fled with bitcoins to cash them back in fiat currency.”
Good example for refugees
But still, 5% is a lot. There are certainly other ways to pay less, as there are thousands of international bitcoin companies. Besides, bitcoin is also just popular, and there are many people online who want to get rid of their fiat money and prefer bitcoin.
Regardless, “the trial illustrates how cashless refugees without access to their assets can use crypto wallets for banking.”
The bitcoin that CNBC sent to Poland originally came from Peter McCormack, host of the What Bitcoin Did podcast.
Last August, he taught CNBC how to use the Lightning Network to make instant payments to anyone in the world by sending them 100,000 satoshis, or sats (the smallest denomination of bitcoin, around 0.00000001 BTC) from their account to ours. “The total transfer was equivalent to about $40.”
The article also quotes Alex Gladstein of the Human Rights Foundation:
“I’m in California, I can still send you any amount directly to your phone. We don’t have to worry about you being a refugee. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a Polish passport or a bank account. None of these things matter.”