The developers of Neon District are integrating Bitcoin's Lightning Network with Ethereum's smart-contracts to deliver convenient, fast and secure in-game purchasing to their users.
Bitcoin + Ethereum?
Blockade Games is the Garry Cooper of DGaming Industry; strong, silent, and capable of doing pretty much everything. BG is also known for experimenting with blockchain technology, always trying to create something new and useful.
This time, they've successfully created a payment system that allows users to purchase in-game assets with BTC via Ethereum's smart contracts. Crazy, right? What's even crazier is that they've actually tested the system and that it worked.
Why Is This So Significant?
Many believe that BTC is the future of money. Ben Heidorn, the CTO at Blockade Games, agrees with the many. But Ben also believes that Ethereum is the future of storing and distributing digital assets, mainly non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Ben also believes that many of their players will probably hold most of their liquid funds in BTC.
It, therefore, makes sense that the company should allow the players to make purchases with BTC. However, Neon District runs on Ethereum, which means that players have to purchase assets in Ether. To solve this problem, Ben and his team (lead by Cr0wn_Ghoul) integrated Bitcoin Lightning Network with the Ethereum blockchain.
Is This Even Possible?
It is! Here's how the process works:
- First, you need a channel between the merchant (Blockade Games) and the buyer (You, the player).
- Channel is activated when the buyer connects to the Blockade Games' Bitcoin Lightning node. Alternatively, a channel can open with a node that has a secure route to Blockade Games.
- When the channel is open, the user can make purchases.
- If the user opts to buy an item with Bitcoin Lightning, Blockade Games automatically generates a QR code. For this, they use BOLT-11 invoice protocol.
- This request (together with invoice, requested item and user's account) goes to a monitor system.
- When the user scans the QR code and pays for the item, the Blockade Games' node will mark the invoice as PAID.
- The monitoring system will then process the payment. For instance, it will send a signal to the Ethereum smart contract and say "Process the payment".
Making It Sustainable
There's a problem with the last step of this equation; sending a signal to Ethereum's smart contract can be slow and expensive. To be precise; it’s not the sending that costs time and money, it’s the execution of the order that can cost time and money, especially if the Ethereum mainnet is busy. Instead of sending signals directly to the mainnet (and minting assets on the mainnet), Blockade Games use Loom Network and mints assets directly in the players' in-game wallets.
This allows players to instantly receive their assets without paying gas fees. Moreover, they can use the item in the game instantly and also trade it to other players for free. The item is locked in the game, yes, but the player can also use Transfer Gateway to quickly and securely transfer the item back on Ethereum or any other chain via the Lightning Network.
The consequences of making this system work could be huge. The Blockade Games team is already trying to experiment with the system and make better use of it. The system worked on the Testnet, and the team will implement it in the game very soon. Now we just have to wait and see how far it’ll go.