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The Lightning Cash Register: POS Payments on the Lightning Network for Merchants

The Lightning Cash Register – a new Point of Sale (POS) feature for merchants – makes it even easier and more secure to accept bitcoin over the Lightning Network. Now small business owners and street vendors can quickly allow anyone on their team to accept payments to their Bitcoin Beach Wallet account without also providing them access to view balances or send funds.

The new feature was tested in the wild at the Adopting Bitcoin 2022 Lightning Conference last month in El Salvador: 

Why Merchants Will Benefit From The Lightning Cash Register Feature

The Galoy team spent time with real people using real technology on the ground in El Salvador, and learned about a few important pain points in need of relief; the solution to which became the Lightning Cash Register.

Never miss a payment again

Did the boss step out for lunch, take the day off, or have their phone run out of battery? Not a problem. Since they already shared their business’ Lightning Cash Register web address with the whole team, anyone on hand can immediately and easily receive Lightning payments while the boss is away.

Keep company assets safe and unspendable

No need to worry about unauthorized spending of company assets. With the Lightning Cash Register, funds go in one direction only – in – and the ability to spend company bitcoin stays with the wallet owner only. So go ahead, give everyone on the team access to the Register, and rest easy knowing company funds are safe and secure.

How The Lightning Cash Register Works

To give the Lightning Cash Register a try, simply open the Bitcoin Beach Wallet on your Apple or Android device (download it first if needed, and make sure you have created a username, too) and do the following:

  1. On the homescreen, select the gear icon to go to the Settings menu
  2. Tap the “Receive payments using your BBW address or the merchant features” option
  3. Tap “For merchants”
  4. Finally, tap the ‘open in browser’ icon (or optionally select the ‘copy text’ icon and open in your preferred browser)
  5. You are now ready to start accepting Lightning payments through the Lightning Cash Register

With this URL/link, any device instantly becomes a Lightning Cash Register for your business. Simply open up in a web browser and use the number pad to generate a Lightning invoice.

 Accessing the Lightning Cash Register inside the Bitcoin Beach Wallet mobile app

Creating a Lightning invoice

At the core of the Lightning Cash Register feature is the Bolt11 Lightning Network invoice, which allows anyone to accept bitcoin payments on the Lightning Network with a simple scannable QR code. Users can generate new, unique Lightning invoices for each transaction using their Lightning Cash Register URL.

They may optionally select the desired unit of account (satoshis or dollars), enter the invoice amount (the amount to be paid) and the system will create a Lightning invoice so the payment is executed for the exact amount needed. The payment will be sent directly to the business’ Bitcoin Beach Wallet account.

Phone showing a Bolt11 lightning network invoice on the Bitcoin beach wallet Lightning Cash Register

Easy access, every time

Since this feature is supported by a web app, it’s available on any and all devices without a hassle. Don’t forget to save it to your device’s home screen for quick and easy access every time:

  • (iOS) On the Lightning Cash Register page, select the “share button”, scroll down and select “Add to Home Screen”
  • (Android) Tap the menu icon and then select “Add to Home screen”

Built With Galoy’s Open Source Lightning Developer Platform

While this feature is discussed here as a part of the Bitcoin Beach Wallet mobile app, that’s not the whole story. The Lightning Cash Register is open source and may be deployed by any organization building on the Galoy Lightning Developer Platform.

Free and open source software, just as Satoshi envisioned. Check out Galoy’s Github or drop us a line on Mattermost to plug in.

Lightning Cash Register FAQ

How else might the Lightning Cash Register be useful?

The Lightning Cash Register can be used as a quick and easy means of remittance payments: simply open your cash register (e.g. pay.bbw.sv/yourusername), enter an amount in dollars or satoshis, select “Create Invoice”, and then “Share” it with your contact. Then, they simply copy the invoice code (‘tap’ it), open their Lightning-compatible wallet, and complete payment. Or simply share the cash register link with others and they can create and pay the invoice on their end.

Which wallets are compatible with Lightning Cash Register payments?

All Lightning-compatible wallets can send payments to the Lightning Cash Register, including the Bitcoin Beach Wallet.

What are the other ways merchants can accept Lightning payments?

There are two other methods that merchants can use to receive payments, depending on what’s most convenient for them and their customers:

  1. Printable paycode: This QR code (accessible via the navigation at the top of the cash register) provides a static, evergreen invoice that may be printed and displayed on site at a merchant’s place of business. In this scenario, the customer scans the invoice and then inputs the proper amount for payment. This is especially useful in situations where the merchant does not have consistent access to a mobile phone or reliable cell service.
  2. Lightning Address: All BBW users are given a Lightning Address when they set their username in the app. This simple, sharable address can be used as a payment destination for customers whose wallets support sending to them. A growing list of wallets supporting Lightning Address can be found at lightningaddress.com, and more info is available on the Galoy blog: galoy.io/bitcoin-beach-wallet-users-can-now-receive-payment-via-lightning-address/.

Solving Real Problems For Real People

Bitcoin is about improving people’s lives. Galoy is happy to see the Lightning Cash Register making people’s lives easier, so they can focus more on creating value and focus less on payment logistics.

 
Photography credits: @mahowaldphotography