ETHERLive delivers real-time price and volume data across 16+ exchanges to users in a clear and easy-to-understand package. Users can get up-to-the-second updates for each exchange/currency pair, as well as aggregated market averages for each exchange, currency, and the market as a whole. It also provides a global converted average of all the currency pairs monitored by ETHNews, converted to USD.


24hr ---

The Basics

Learn the basics of Ethereum and various cryptocurrency technologies

Learn More

What is Ethereum?

Understand the underlying principles of the Ethereum Platform

Learn More

The Blockchain

Discover the revolutionizing technology known as the blockchain

Learn More

Press Release

Submit a press release for consideration on ETHNews

Submit Press

Story / Dapp

Submit a story or DAPP to be considered for publication on ETHNews.

Submit Story


Submit "Ethereum Explainer" content for consideration to be featured on ETHNews

Submit Topic
ETHNews Logo
Ether Price Analysis
Contact Us
ETHNews will sunset at the end of August. The site will remain accessible for a few weeks while necessary maintenance is performed. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Tiny Artwork Sold In A Tiny Auction Via Tiny Lightning Network Payments




Crypto artist cryptograffiti sold a miniature piece of art to show that micropayments can work.

Crypto artist cryptograffiti, who is known for his street art throughout the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest, recently sold an artwork titled "Black Swan" for 1 millisatoshi (an infinitesimal amount). The "micro auction," as cryptograffiti calls it, took place over an implementation of the Lightning Network (LN), a web of payment channels built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain that enables off-chain transactions.

To conduct the auction, cryptograffiti partnered with Blockstream in using the company's nanotip, a micropayments "Lightning app" built with Blockstream's Lightning Charge application programming interface (API). The Lightning Charge API relies on the company's c-lightning implementation of the LN.

Nanotip, as the name suggests, enables individuals to privately tip content creators in small amounts through a simple web server. Each creator has a tip-bot to receive tips. Blockstream maintains that the tipping process features "stronger privacy than a classic Bitcoin tipjar."

Cryptograffiti told ETHNews about what the auction may mean for the future of micropayments:

"I hope the micro auction inspires others to think about how this tech can be applied to interesting use cases that wouldn't have made sense previously due to the minimum fees of credit cards."

Other organizations are developing their own micropayments-focused projects. Lightning Labs, for instance, released its beta LN implementation on the Bitcoin mainnet back in March. Also, a recent pilot from cryptocurrency payment service CoinGate saw over 100 merchants accept LN payments on the company's demo shop.

Despite the successes and developments related to the LN and micropayments, there are several skeptics. Cryptocurrency research firm Diar reported that a 100 percent success rate for LN transactions would only be guaranteed for payments up to three cents. Further, the report noted that for transactions greater than $5, there would be a 50 percent chance of the transfer failing. Cornell University's Emin Gün Sirer also pointed out that though the number of LN payment routes has increased substantially, the probability of successful payments has not.

Still, folks like cryptograffiti believe in the potential of micropayments. He admitted that "[t]he promise of micropayments was instrumental in [his] becoming an artist in the space." Indeed, he started posting street art in 2013 with a public-facing wallet to allow viewers to tip small amounts of bitcoin. He continued:

"I'm excited about a future where micropayments are omnipresent. Artists paid by the view … writers by the poem … musicians by the listen. Every day interactions complemented by positive monetary reinforcement such as tipping someone who let you merge into traffic."

Although the auction provides a practical use case for LN-related micropayments, the artwork itself is subversive. "Black Swan" sits at 1.44 x 1.75 inches and is made from pieces of a US dollar bill. The swan's beak is filled with ink from a counterfeit detector pen. The appropriation of these details calls into question the material limitations of fiat currency, as well as its susceptibility to counterfeiting.

Dani Putney

Dani is a full-time writer for ETHNews. They received their bachelor's degree in English writing from the University of Nevada, Reno, where they also studied journalism and queer theory. In their free time, they write poetry, play the piano, and fangirl over fictional characters. They live with their partner, three dogs, and two cats in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.

ETHNews is committed to its Editorial Policy

Like what you read? Follow us on Twitter @ETHNews_ to receive the latest cryptograffiti, Lightning Network or other Ethereum technology news.