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Austin Mitchell is the Co-Founder and CEO of Synota. In this interview, we discuss his plan to use the Lightning Network to settle transactions in the energy industry, and how this should bring greater equality to the energy market whilst also enabling the whole energy economy to move to the Lightning Network.

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Bitcoin is prospectively the best version of money, worldwide instant payments rail, market-based accelerant for energy production, and energy grid stabiliser. It’s infuriating that more people aren’t waking up to its potential. Perhaps it’s the FUD, the passive damage caused by dysfunction in the crypto industry, or the ignorance of there being bitcoin the money and Bitcoin the network.

But Bitcoin’s story is still being written; as many keep saying – it’s still early. We all know that there are nascent layer 2 innovations that are taking Bitcoin in new directions. But even hardened advocates continue to be amazed at the use cases being developed using Bitcoin’s various characteristics.

Take the Lightning Network: the game-changing payment protocol. It is the layer that enables Bitcoin to scale. But what does that actually mean? Well, quite a lot. Bitcoin is fast becoming an integral part of the energy industry. In addition to the known functions comes a new one: the Lightning Network’s instant settlement facility and distributed payment network is set to transform energy finance.

The current system is predicated on old analogue payment processes, full of inefficiencies that unnecessarily bloat costs for producers and consumers. The prize is a real-time payment system that simplifies energy finance whilst enabling greater functionality. It could make the market more flexible, dynamic and equitable. The result could be that it draws the whole energy economy onto the Lightning Network.

It’s a lightbulb moment given how big that industry is: $4.5 trillion is spent on energy a year. There are additional services that could be included. The lightbulb fuses when you think about what other industries could find similar utility. The lightbulb explodes when you remember Lightning is just one of many layer 2 innovations. We’re still so very very early.