The importance of alternative means of payment

Alternative economic systems

How to get started with the new revolutionary apps and the shift to decentralized privacy-friendly payment methods.

Published 2 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff
As the options for cash transactions become increasingly limited, it is ever more important to study new, freer means of payment that cannot be restricted by the arbitrary power of banks or totalitarian states.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain and maintain basic bank accounts to manage our everyday finances. Banks are becoming more and more questioning of customers, not least for ordinary citizens with normal incomes, and for businesses it has never been more difficult to open an account with a new bank.

Cash payments are becoming ever more inaccessible in society, while card and online payments are simultaneously tracked and stored for many years after the transactions have taken place, with people having no control over their payment information and how it is used. This has serious and growing implications for people’s freedom, privacy and integrity.

The most relevant alternatives to complement and replace cash, as a free and more privacy-friendly option for people to pay for goods and services, issue loans or a gift to family, acquaintances or business partners, are cryptocurrencies in general and bitcoin in particular.

Today, bitcoin is not an unknown means of payment, although most people have never familiarized themselves with the cryptocurrency. Recently, the ease of use has increased dramatically, with various programs, apps and services now making it easy to exchange for bitcoin from the old means of payment, and not least, making payments to friends and acquaintances without special technical knowledge has become easy.

This has been made possible in particular by the development of the so-called Lightning Network, which is a kind of extension and simplification of the bitcoin network, with faster and almost cost-free transactions. While traditional bitcoin payments and apps have also become significantly easier to manage, the Lightning Network enables a whole new level of convenience for lightning-fast transfers and instant payment confirmations.

One example of such a Lightning-based app is Wallet of Satoshi, which has lowered the threshold to a level almost identical to apps like Swish, which has become the most popular payment method in Sweden precisely because of its simplicity and speed for transfers between accounts at different banks.

Wallet of Satoshi requires no special prior knowledge. It doesn’t even require an account or any kind of registration, but can be used the moment it is downloaded to your phone, opening up a whole new level of bitcoin usage.

Download the app for free via the Play Store or App Store on your mobile – you’ll be up and running in no time.

The everyday approach is very reminiscent of the Swedish payment app Swish, when, for example, you want to reciprocate the cost of a lunch together with your friend while avoiding having to log in to the internet bank and enter bank account numbers or withdraw cash etc. for this purpose. If both parties have this, or any other lightning app installed, a so-called QR code is provided in the recipient’s app, which the sender can scan with the corresponding app on their mobile. Immediately, the recipient has been registered and it only remains to enter the amount. This can always be entered and displayed in the usual so-called “fiat currency” such as Swedish kronor, euros, etc. instead of the sender having to calculate the corresponding amount in bitcoin, after which the transfer is confirmed and then, within a second, lands in the recipient’s app.

If the recipient is not in the physical room, there is a convenient alternative to QR codes. Via a “share button”, the recipient can send a payment code to the sender, for example via SMS, email or preferably via a secure messaging app, such as Signal or Protonmail, which is pasted into the app. The sender then confirms the transfer in the same way and the recipient then has the transfer in their app just as quickly if they are on the other side of the world as if they are sitting in the chair opposite the sender.

Tip: Changing the display currency from BTC (printed as ‘sats’ when they correspond to part of a bitcoin) to your local currency in the app saves you from having to calculate the value for each payment

Each time the app receives a payment, it generates a new “wallet address”, roughly equivalent to a unique bank account number, which did not previously exist before the transfer. This makes it difficult for anyone who might try to monitor transactions on the so-called Lightning Network to know who owns the new wallet address to which the funds are sent.

In addition, a special technique is used to make it more difficult to trace the route taken by the payment to the recipient through so-called “onion routing” – a technique traditionally used by the privacy-friendly Tor Browser. Through this method, the payment randomly takes several detours via intermediaries or “nodes” where these individual intermediaries have no knowledge of the final destination of the payment.

Transactions on the Lightning Network, as well as on the regular so-called blockchain, where the regular Bitcoin transactions take place, cannot be stopped or prevented by anyone. This means that no one but you can control if, when and how you send funds over these Networks, which also helps to ensure that the platform is robust and secure against interference from banks, governments and other actors.

The ease of use of the apps, combined with the integrity of the payment network, is effectively revolutionizing the possibilities of alternative payment means

Anyone who wants to get started can, within ten minutes, go to a secure and convenient exchange to buy Bitcoin, such as Safello, via their regular payment card, after which the funds are transferred to an app such as Wallet of Satoshi, which can be downloaded for free on mobile via Google Play or the App Store.

Payments and transfers can then be made freely all over the world, offering advantages even over cash. The Lightning Network is also distinguished by its enhanced privacy compared to the usual blockchain and bitcoin payments, where transfers certainly cannot be stopped, but with some knowledge can be tracked.

It is good to know that when using an app like Wallet of Satoshi, the assets, i.e. your bitcoin, only exist in the current mobile phone and are lost if you lose your phone or uninstall the app. However, while the integrity of the Lightning Network is high, it is difficult to gain precise insight into how an app like Wallet of Satoshi handles internal transfers. Storing and managing bitcoin via the Lightning Network and Wallet of Satoshi is therefore mainly suitable for smaller amounts, usually below a normal monthly salary, much along the same lines as you shouldn’t have too much cash in your wallet either.

Storage and management of larger amounts in bitcoin such as savings, loan transfers and the like should therefore be done in other apps and programs that are better suited for these purposes. These include the mobile app BlueWallet or the computer program Sparrow, which require a little more knowledge and time to manage, but provide a better overview and security. Nevertheless, these are very robust and flexible options for managing assets in the new world that is now taking shape, where alternative means of payment have a given place.

In conclusion, bitcoin in particular and cryptocurrencies in general are here to stay and the time is ripe for their entry into everyday use. The more people use the new apps and payments in their daily lives, the more freedom people will have over their finances, their assets and their freedom to manage them.

Facts: What is the Lightning Network?

The Lightning Network is a second-layer protocol that runs on top of the Bitcoin blockchain to enable fast, cheap and more secure transactions between users.

How it works

  • The Lightning Network creates payment channels between users where they can make multiple transactions without each individual transaction having to be registered on the Bitcoin blockchain.
  • A payment channel is opened by making a deposit into a multisig wallet shared by the participants in the channel.
  • Transactions within the channel are instantaneous and cost very little as they do not require block confirmations.
  • When the channel closes, the final balance is recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain, reducing the load on the underlying blockchain.


  • Fast transactions: Transactions occur within seconds or minutes.
  • Low fees: Fees for Lightning transactions are significantly lower than for traditional Bitcoin transactions.
  • Scalability: The Lightning Network can support many transactions without overloading the Bitcoin blockchain.
  • Privacy: Since individual transactions are not recorded on the blockchain, the Lightning network offers a higher degree of privacy.

Areas of use

The Lightning Network is widely used for microtransactions and fast payments where traditional Bitcoin transactions may be too slow or expensive. It is popular in direct payment applications, such as buying coffee or paying for online services.

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