What are we building at Lightning Pay?

Written by Brandon - Lightning Pay Team

Updated May 21, 2024

We’ve told you our story about why we decided to build Lightning Pay. In this article, we’ll focus on what we’re aiming to achieve. Ultimately, our mission is to connect New Zealand to the Bitcoin Lightning Network. 


The Problem

Every day, we all encounter surcharges for every day payments at the diary. Maybe you’re like me, and you go through the trouble of putting your card in the chip reader, entering your pin, then on an unlucky day doing a dance where you swipe, do the chip thing again, and go back and forth appease the eftpos gods. Maybe you just grit your teeth and pay the fee. 

New Zealand has a payments problem. For merchants in New Zealand, payments services are among the largest costs a small business will incur in daily trading.

  • New Zealand payment fees for credit and contactless payments are among the highest in the developed world. On average, New Zealand businesses will spend $15k more on payment service costs than their Australian counterparts, annually.
  • To combat fraud and chargebacks, settlement time for most payments systems can range from 2-10 business days
  • A host of intermediaries with exclusive permission to stay in the middle of payments drive up the overall cost for merchants.


The Solution

We can do better. Enter the Lightning Network. 

The payments network built on top of Bitcoin offers a number of crucial improvements to our payments experience in New Zealand.

  • Payments are instant
  • Settlement is final, there are no chargeback risks associated with Lightning Network Payments
  • Extremely cheap, payment fees on the Lightning network are fractions of a cent
  • Native Payer Privacy
  • Programmable Money, you’ll be amazed at the things we can do
  • No Intermediaries, Lightning Network Payments are Peer to Peer


The Other Problems

Unfortunately, using Bitcoin as a payments medium comes with some challenges for merchants. Namely, there is some uncertainty and friction in accounting, tax obligations and integration with the standard flow of funds in a merchant’s business.

The other issue is that without more bitcoin payers who are ready and able to spend via the Lightning Network, how will merchants get customers to use these systems?


Lightning Pay

First, we knew that in order to create an amazing payments experience, we had to find a way for our customers to get from New Zealand Dollars to bitcoin on the Lightning Network quickly. A circular economy with bitcoin alone can’t work today, merchants have suppliers and employees that need to be paid in dollars. 

Unfortunately, this didn’t exist. So our first product was to build exactly that, an efficient and cost effective method to convert New Zealand Dollars to bitcoin on the Lightning Network. 

Next, we’re focused on the basics for merchants:

  • Point of Sale App
  • Hosted Online Payments


With these simple things in place, we can offer the means by which merchants and payers alike can experience a new payments experience.

  • Merchants can accept payments via bitcoin and receive NZD by the next business day
    • Removing all fees from the equation, you get every cent you’ve asked for from your payer, and they pay only a fraction of a cent for the network fee
    • You get NZD settled to your bank the next business day, improving your cashflow
    • Reduce risk by avoiding chargebacks and other issues with legacy payments systems
    • Avoid the tax and accounting hurdles for merchants by allowing them to receive NZD
    • Attract bitcoin enthusiasts to your place of business
  • Individuals who might spend with our merchants can interact with the Lightning network seamlessly
    • Buy bitcoin for savings, or just to top up your Lightning Wallet for spending, with a couple of clicks
    • Pay with convenience and privacy anywhere in the country (or abroad) that accepts bitcoin on Lightning 


What’s next for Lightning Pay?

Ultimately, we want to blur the lines between the New Zealand Dollar and bitcoin. 

  • We want to enable a modern payments experience for consumers, complete with a feature rich payments app
  • We want to enable individuals across NZ to save for their future in bitcoin more easily
  • We want to remove the friction from the NZ payments experience for merchants entirely 
  • We want to make the job of accounting for bitcoin sales or NZD sales through our apps as seamless as using dollars today.


Lastly, by building the infrastructure that connects New Zealand to the Lightning network, we want to provide a means by which others can create new and innovative payments experiences. We can’t be the only place commerce is done in New Zealand. We’re building on an open protocol, and hope other entrepreneurs will join us.


If you are one of our beta users, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and for all the feedback we’ve received thus far. We’re very much looking forward to going on this journey with you over the months and years to come!