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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Lightning Labs releases tools letting AI transact and hold Bitcoin

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Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network development firm Lightning Labs unveiled a new set of tools for artificial intelligence to send and receive BTC on the network’s layer-2 solution.

On July 6, Lightning Labs announced the toolkit which helps enable AI applications such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT to interact with the Bitcoin network to send, receive and hold the cryptocurrency.

The move is to help make payments faster, cheaper and easier for AI developers who will be able to distance themselves from traditional and often prohibitive payment rails while also enabling pay-per-use AI models on Lightning.

Large Language Models (LLMs) are software applications modeled on large data sets enabling them to generate human-like responses to user prompts and conduct other tasks.

“We’re extremely excited about the new wave of innovation brought about with the latest wave of LLM models,” Lightning Labs said.

Lightning Labs explained the tools are built on the “L402 protocol” — a Lightning native authentication mechanism. It also employs “Langchain,” a library used for simplifying operations with AI applications.

“With the tools we’re releasing today, developers will be able to build more accessible AI infrastructure for both humans and agents alike.”

The Lightning Labs team also acknowledged the problem with current LLMs, which lack native web-based payment mechanisms. AI application developers are forced to rely on dated payment methods such as credit cards with the additional expenses passed on to users, it claimed.

“A new fast-growing class of ‘organisms’ (intelligent LLM or AI Agents) are unable to easily gain access to fiat systems of payment as they aren’t registered ‘entities’ with any nation,” it noted.

Related: The state of the Bitcoin Lightning Network in 2023

Speaking on the “Stack Sats” podcast on July 6, Kody Low, developer at the community payments platform Fedi commented on the interoperability between AI and BTC for payments:

“AI is one of those things where there is absolutely no better solution anywhere in the world than Bitcoin, and AI companies have not yet solved their monetization problems.”

According to data from LN analytics platform 1ML, the current LN capacity is 5,432 BTC or roughly $163.5 million. Bitcoin Visuals has reported a dip in the number of LN channels over the past year from around 80,000 in July 2022 to around 70,000 currently.

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