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Bitfinex Deal to Enable Bitcoin-powered Mobile Phone Top-ups and More

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

Crypto exchange Bitfinex has struck a partnership deal with Swedish cryptocurrency-powered gift cards operator Bitrefill. The agreement will let customers pay using Bitcoin (BTC) via the Lightning Network protocol – and the parties say they will begin allowing users to pay using other tokens at some point in the future.

Source: iStock/YakobchukOlena

Bitfinex chief technology officer (CTO) Paolo Ardoino shared news of the deal on Twitter.

And, in response to a question from a Twitter user, Bitrefill stated,

“Currently [the payment option] only supports BTC, but Bitfinex has plans to automate using [other coins] soon.”

The deal means that shoppers can use Bitcoin to pay for Bitrefill’s services, which comprises more than 2,000 digital gift cards and mobile phone top-up offerings.

Bitrefill says it customers can make gaming- and travel-related payments, and can also buy redeemable restaurant coupons and pay for entertainment platform subscriptions with providers such as Netflix.

Customers make their payments in Bitcoin, say the parties, and Bitfinex and Bitrefill will subsequently settle payments using the Bitcoin blockchain-based Lightning Network protocol – cutting out the need for B2B credit providers. Starting this week, Bitfinex is already running its own Lightning Network node, which users can connect to and open a payment channel with the exchange.

BitRefill has been a quiet pioneer for real-world bitcoin adoption since its launch in 2014. The California-based company started out enabling bitcoin users to top up their mobile phones using digital currency.

Additionally, BitRefill also provides a service called Thor, which helps to onboard users to the Lightning Network by letting them piggyback of BitRefill’s Lightning nodes.