A Las Vegas strip club is taking its first step toward accepting bitcoin payments over the Lightning Network in a bid to speed up payments, lower costs and provide privacy to clients.
Crazy Horse 3 says it has become the first major entertainment venue in Las Vegas to accept payment using Lightning.
Bitcoin payment processor and infrastructure provider OpenNode is overseeing the club’s new payment rail, which enables guests to make purchases on the club’s website.
Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is a layer-two protocol system designed to settle transactions off-chain in a bid to cut down the time it takes to use the world’s oldest cryptocurrency and reduce the fees associated with bitcoin payments.
When Bitcoin was unveiled in 2009, it could settle seven transactions per second (TPS). Now as the network and number of users have grown, so too has the demand on Bitcoin’s infrastructure.
The Lightning Network attempts to solve that by increasing the maximum throughput to 25 million TPS. That is an important for businesses like Crazy Horse 3 that accept bitcoin as a form of payment.
Lightning also offers an extra layer of transaction privacy. For instance, its nodes use Tor’s anonymous communication network known as onion routing. The routing affords nodes the ability to send transactions through each other while keeping the bitcoin transacted encrypted.
“We are embracing the opportunity to accept bitcoin as a way to deliver convenience, first-class hospitality and an added level of anonymity for our guests,” a Crazy Horse 3 representative said in a statement.
Located a stone’s throw away from the new Allegiant Stadium, home of the National Football League’s Las Vegas Raiders, Crazy Horse 3 is not exactly tucked away. Like most adult entertainment businesses, the club faces financial judgment in the form of being labeled a “high-risk” industry, and so the fees it pays to payment processing companies via traditional rails are higher. Fees charged by using bitcoin as a form of payment are much lower.
Bitcoin payments can help international clients flying into Las Vegas because they don’t need to use their debit or credit cards to make fast payments.
So far, the club is accepting bitcoin payments only for bottle service, but it plans to expand transactions to include “admission, food selections, craft cocktails, retail and the club’s signature ‘dance dollars,’ valid toward lap dances and entertainer tipping.”
Tipping is where the Lightning Network has the potential to truly make an impact. Under the conditions of privacy, lower fees, and faster payments, the ability to pay entertainers in satoshis or “sats” – fractions of a whole bitcoin – those on the receiving end can forge entirely new local economies.
Onchain bitcoin microtransactions would be prohibitively slow and expensive. But payments on Lightning are ideally made in smaller increments, just right for tips.