Recap: Building on Bitcoin - All Roads Lead to Layer 2s
by Stacks Foundation team on July 25, 2023
On July 13th, community members, leaders, speakers, and mentors came together for a virtual event on all things Bitcoin and Layer 2s.

The timing was prime for a wide variety of panels and discussions. Bitcoin development is booming. Ordinals alone have set off a wave of new experiments and use cases highlighting just the beginning of what’s possible with Bitcoin. BRC-20 tokens (Ordinal’s inscription mechanism) are bringing users, fees, and - yes, more shitcoins - to the blockchain. But, they’re also catalyzing important discussions on the need for scaling, rollups, and Layer 2 solutions.

Below are a few highlights from some of the discussions held earlier this month - be sure to check out the complete YouTube playlist for a recording of every session!

State of the Bitcoin Ecosystem with Muneeb Ali

In this talk, Muneeb Ali discusses the growing interest in Bitcoin among developers, the momentum towards Layer 2 solutions, and the potential opportunities for builders in the Bitcoin ecosystem. A few highlights below:

  • Many developers who were previously building on platforms like Solana or Ethereum are now realizing that the highest return on investment for their time and attention may lie in the early stages of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
  • Muneeb traces back the developments in the cryptocurrency space to 2017 when Ethereum gained significant traction among developers with projects like CryptoKitties. They highlight that during the last bull market, there were various experiments on fast Layer 1 networks like Solana and Avalanche.
  • Layer 2 solutions, especially those built on established networks like Ethereum, are now garnering more attention and interest. Muneeb argues that these Layer 2 solutions offer advantages such as building on existing ecosystems, which can facilitate easier capital movement and community development
  • While faster Layer 1 networks may still exist and be successful, people seem to be gravitating towards established networks like Ethereum and, increasingly, Bitcoin. Despite acknowledging infrastructure challenges and early growing pains, the speaker emphasizes that this could be the right time for builders to explore opportunities within the Bitcoin space.

The new NFT gold rush with Bitcoin Ordinals

Frederick Manawa, a Bitcoin reporter with CoinDesk, moderates a panel discussion on "Breaking Bitcoin or Building a Community: The New NFT Gold Rush" with four panelists: Dr. Chiente Hsu from ALEX, Elizabeth Olsen from Xverse, Charlie Spears from OrdinalHub, and Brian Laughlin from Ordinals Bot.

  • Chiente emphasizes that NFTs on Bitcoin (Ordinals) bring excitement, innovation, and attention to the ecosystem, drawing in developers and new use cases.
  • Elizabeth highlights that the Ordinals protocol has bridged gaps between different Bitcoin communities, with many embracing the new use case for Bitcoin. Brian echoes the sentiment, stating that Ordinals have attracted developers back to Bitcoin and facilitated innovation.
  • Charlie discusses how Ordinals bring expression and new possibilities while working within Bitcoin's existing consensus rules.
  • When asked about forking Bitcoin for an NFT-focused chain, the panelists generally agree that building on Bitcoin's layer one is more desirable, but an L2 solution might be necessary for complex use cases in the future.
  • Chiente shares insights on building a community around ALEX, emphasizing value creation and clear communication as essential factors for organic growth.
  • Elizabeth and Brian discuss their experience in building user-friendly products like wallets and interfaces for Bitcoin, highlighting the challenges of educating new users about the unique aspects of Bitcoin's blockchain.

How Lightspark is bringing lightning payments to business

In this talk, we heard from the co-founders of Lightspark. Below are some of the discussed highlights about their platform and its impact on the ecosystem.

  • Lightspark believes Lightning will become the payment protocol of the web, and they aim to simplify its complexities. Lightning's complexity is due to the concept of channels, rebalancing, inbound liquidity, and transaction routing.
  • Lightspark is creating an enterprise-grade technical stack to provide reliable payments and abstracting away the complexity for users. They offer a simple interface for sending and receiving funds, with no need to worry about channels or nodes. Light Spark demonstrates the possibilities of instant settlement and low-cost payments on the Lightning network, enabling new use cases like streaming money on the internet.
  • Lightning's success depends on achieving high velocity for Bitcoin on the network, making or breaking its ability to replace legacy payment rails.
  • To increase velocity and efficiency, Light Spark introduces LightPerPredict, an AI-powered solution in three steps:
  1. Establishing the right connections and customized setups for each participant.
  2. Providing real-time traffic information and navigation for lightning transactions.
  3. Dynamically adjusting liquidity and rebalancing channels to keep Bitcoin moving efficiently.
  • Lightspark closely monitors success rates and velocity of money on the Lightning network to measure the effectiveness of the AI model.
  • To scale Lightning further, Light Spark introduces LightSpark Wallet SDK, enabling developers, startups, and enterprises to build delightful payment experiences on Lightning with seamless integration.
  • Lightspark has partnered with regulated institutions, crypto exchanges, and merchants to expand the ecosystem and make Lightning accessible to a wider audience.
  • The goal is to take Lightning to the next level by making it reliable, efficient, and widely adoptable, and Light Spark invites users to test and provide feedback to improve the platform.
Check out the Stacks calendar to find conferences, hackathons, recurring meetings, and more from throughout the Stacks Ecosystem. You can also submit events on behalf of your organization or local community.