The Daily Moon

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Connect the World | El Professor

This week, in Episode 27, we talk to El Profesor, the founder of the Lightning Community Latinodos! This community is completely Spanish speaking! With this, El Profesor fills a void that existed for an all-Spanish Lightning community in regards to running a node.
El Profesor tells us that Spanish-speaking countries have a big challenge getting started or being actively involved in the technicalities of Bitcoin and Lightning. This is due to moderate English proficiency in these Spanish-speaking countries, with the exception of Argentina.
He also talks about the Lightning Network being a social, open and inclusive environment. 

This will lead to better products and even more technical developments. Ultimately this will keep adding value and increase the adoption worldwide! Want to know more about the social power of Lightning Communities?

Watch or listen to the full interview or start reading below! Enjoy!

El Profesor

What was your first experience with the lightning network and do you still know what you did/saw at that moment?

Late 2020 during one the lockdowns, where TikTok became a way to cope with the day to day routine. I saw someone talking about lightning in 20 seconds, found it funny but didn’t pay attention. Only until the mid-2021 ramp up, due to the incoming wave of pi’s and Umbrel nodes that I decided it was time to get involved in this new wave of BTC magic.

In a recent article you were interviewed by BeinCrypto and you talked about noticing a certain momentum in the rise of the Lightning Network. What was the main reason for you to start the LatiNodos Lightning Community in September 2021? And what’s your role and how do you manage it?

Because even though there were forums and established Spanish speaking communities that had discussed lightning, I could not find a space focused on building a sense of community related to running a node in Spanish, like Plebnet did.

Is the adoption of Bitcoin bigger/better in Germany then in Mexico? What do you notice about the Bitcoin and Lightning adoption in the neighborhood where you live? Are there any merchants nearby?

In terms of public reachable Bitcoin nodes, you see Germany constantly in the top 3, I can’t remember Mexico even tapping the top 20. Google searches for “Bitcoin Node” put Germany in the top 10 worldwide- Mexico’s search volumes don’t even show up. While there aren’t Key, definitive indicators, it shows you that there is a long way to go – especially given the fact that Mexico and Germany have the same share of users (10%) that reported they owned cryptocurrency. (Statista, 2021) Fun fact NL is 15%, Nigeria 42%
I will start attending more meetups, hope to soon catch up with members from communities like Einundzwansig, to find where can I finally pay for a beer with sats, no luck so far.

How do you see the future of Lightning wallets? Is it too expensive for Latin American people to run their own node?

Not sure if its only about the node hardware price, but also the infrastructure required to run a node. Electricity is not always as stable as here in Europe, both in terms of voltage and availability. With internet it is a similar story. In brief, I think on average, it is less hectic running a personal node here than there. Hence the importance of self-custodial, non-KYC solutions for storing and exchanging sats. IM LOOKNIG AT YOU, greedy exchanges.

We see more Spanish speaking people entering the Bitcoin groups. How can we motivate/educate them to also enter the Lightning space?

By showing practical use, sharing stories and getting social!

What will be the next Latin American country to adopt Bitcoin after El Salvador? Mexico, Brazil , Argentina…

Costa Rica, pura vida! Or other Central American Country, In my opinion. Argentina would be a great candidate: high English proficiency, troubled currency, stereotypically proud and loud people – perfect conditions to adopt Bitcoin and amplify the message, but is already bound to the IMF’s bailout conditions, that force them to be less supportive of cryptocurrency, if I understood correctly.

How can we approach the Latin American people in a better way to talk/educate them about Lightning. Are there more specific platforms other than TG in the Spanish language? Like for example?

Empowering and guiding them. Again, there is genuine interest in this money innovation, but it is misfocused- i.e. people shilling shitcoins. Educative initiatives like Mi Primer Bitcoin or La Libreria de Satoshi are putting a lot of effort to educate and technically form the users and developers of tomorrow.

What does self-sovereignty mean for you?

Not a mistake, but a bad practice – doing a ghetto swap with Laptop man, involving trust. Fun fact: I even once got a feedback from a LatiNodos community member complaining on why Laptopman had such a shady profile and not an identity with a picture, lol, I had to explain the concept of privacy a bit that time. Luckily ,we got the possibility to open balanced channels in a trustless way now.


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The Latinodos community

Spanish is the world’s second-most spoken native language after Mandarin Chinese. What is the main reason that a Spanish speaking Lightning Community at first didn’t exist?

You could find Spanish speaking forums and spontaneous discussions about the topic here and there, but very technical driven , which along with the gatekeeping effect made it difficult to start if you were not actively involved in the technicalities of bitcoin or if you did not speak English – which in Spanish speaking countries becomes a big challenge given the Very Low to Moderate English proficiency levels , except for Argentina.

What is the most used Lightning Node software used within the LatiNodos Community at the moment?

LND, 8 out of every 10 members, the rest is equally split between core lightning and other Open-source Implementations.

A lot of people run a node on a Raspberry Pi. For those people, what do you think should be the time to upgrade to more serious hardware?

After they decide they want to run a payment service on their node or when they reach a routing flow that will limit routing enough payments due to resource limitations (memory, processing power)- and before they are forced to do it because something went wrong ☺

What would your plea be as to why everyone should join a Lightning Community?

It is a fun, safe way to learn about what can LN do for you (as a person, or business) and vice versa (by providing feedback to. Devs or sharing questions). It is NOT a “get rich tomorrow, lets shill this up” scheme like most other “crypto social” communities out there.

With the Satoshi Radio Rings of Fire, Connect the World and LatiNodos communities, we both try to be inclusive. There are no requirements to enter. Anyone interested in learning about Lightning can be part of the community. We both guide people along the way and give a feeling of belonging and a social sense when participating with a self-build Lightning Node!
Why is the social aspect of the Lightning Network so important at the moment?

Lightning network is almost by definition social. A node NEEDS a public or private connection to another node to be functional and send/receive payments. Furthermore, if lightning is attempting to scale bitcoin and achieve more “practical”, day to day uses- people are needed to show and explain the use cases and solutions, hence the importance of communities in the LN environment.

Recently there are a lot of great Bitcoin initiatives like Bitcoin Ekasi (South Africa), El zonte (El Salvador) and Bitcoin Jungle (Costa Rica). Do you think this could also become a possibility in Mexico, in the near future?

I wish that with all my heart. I see especially strong potential in the south, in Oaxaca and Chiapas, where marginated communities are self-governed*. As well as in the world-known tourist destinations like Cancún, Tulum and Mexico City.

You also are building Rings of Fire to get people started with Lightning and have immediate inbound liquidity. What are the most used solutions to acquire inbound liquidity by the members of the LatiNodes Community?

LN+ is also popular and talked about. I’ve also seen mentions on Amboss’ Magma service, not a lot of traction on LL’s Pool.

In Episode 24 we talked with Koji Higashi of the Japanese Lightning Community Diamond Hands. There are a lot of Lightning Communities around the world who are currently also busy with helping newcomers to enter the Lightning Space, building Liquidity Backbones for the future and generating more and more Bitcoin and Lightning developers around the world. How do you envision that these kinds of social LN communities can continue to make an important contribution in the future?

Big responsibility and challenges for communities out there in my opinion., both for members (keeping the environment inclusive and open to newcomers) and admins (keeping it impartial, privacy focused) The benefits in the Educative, Professional and Social aspects will lead to further technical developments (a more mature/knowledgeable user base will lead to better products and technical developments) that can later translate into commercial o personal value adding solutions that in the end increase everyone’s experience with the technology.

You’re also busy creating a lot of audio and video content. For example live sessions with developers and experts on Telegram, Twitter Spaces Podcasting 2.0 and YouTube. They’re all translated to Spanish when guests talk in English.
Can you explain the differences between all content and their main purpose?

Omnichannel 101. Every means of communication serves a specific objective. And as per the recent study by Voltage(?) most people are not learning about bitcoin via twitter (contrary to popular belief) but YouTube, and yah.. even Facebook and Instagram. So I am starting a more chill, less technical series on YouTube to catch these newcomers, that can then later (if the stories spark their curiosity) move to the Podcast/twitter, where more technical focus takes place to finally engage and share their questions and knowledge in the telegram channel!
Furthermore, there are already plans to bring LatiNodos from the virtual experience to in-person meetups and events, fiesta!
But more on that later 😉

With your new YouTube Channel you created the series called “Santos Sats” with real people talking about their journey in the world of Bitcoin and Lightning.
Why is it that telling these real stories is so important?

Latin Telenovelas are a BIG hit, not only in Spanish-speaking countries, but even in Eastern Europe, the Middle East etc.. And the reason for this is that humans love stories and drama, it keeps us entertained and fosters socializing.
With the series, I try to amplify real stories that demonstrate that Bitcoin and Lightning can really go from code, technical, and abstract topics to real, life-changing experiences. I hope this helps those unfamiliar or skeptical to become curious and get closer to the technology.

The Lightning Network

There are a lot of use cases for Lightning and there’s still much to gain: For example spending sats at your local brick and mortar merchant is a possibility but also getting rid of paywalls or streaming sats to content creators. All those use cases help to grow adoption even further.
What’s the use case which will help adoption the fastest in the near future?

Value for Value is my big bet here, as it has the potential to join the game with innovative, disruptive business models – where the average user is “forced” to learn about the new behavior. The fun thing is that this requires also innovation from the producer´s side to make it worth it and not fall in the “buzzword” trap. While it will be awesome for remittances and groceries to get onboarded on bitcoin, those are quite established business models – and I see a difficulty that alone (without any tweak or value for value innovation) drives adoption in the future.

If banks will offer their own custodial Bitcoin and Lightning services like in El Salvador. How important is it that people can continue to use non-custodial solutions and have an alternative to fiat banks?

While I believe custodial solutions will be a “required evil” to take adoption to the next phase, it will be equally important to have general awareness of the implications this comes with. Here is where communities’ important role takes place as I don´t see governments including sovereignty or custodial solutions in the education system. Damn, they don’t even include essential topics like emotional intelligence or even taxes!

If you look back to the last 2 years of Lightning development and have to look 2 years in the future, where do you think we are with Lightning by then?

I can only talk about 1 year more less that I’ve had with following the topic. But with the announcements and developments taking place, I am feeling confident LN will serve as the de facto backbone technology for payments, perhaps more prominently in places where local legislations support its use.

What tools do you use for managing your own Lightning Node? Which are your favorites and why?

The classic graphic tools like RTL, TH and for channel mgmt. LNDg. They provide with the essentials and I hope they grow in the future to make integrations easier with other LN solutions (web payments, wallet creation, etc.)

Do you use metric and statistical node services like LnNodeinsight, (from Severin Bühler, EP17) or something else to get the best out of your node?

Yes, even once included one of those tools in an educational guide.

Which script/tools do you recommend to use for rebalancing and changing fees on your Lightning Node?

I appreciate LNDg, great for those who enjoy the data analytics and number crunching, but not the command line.

What’s the biggest mistake you made related to lightning?

Not a mistake, but a bad practice – doing a ghetto swap with Laptop man, involving trust. Fun fact: I even once got a feedback from a LatiNodos community member complaining on why Laptopman had such a shady profile and not an identity with a picture, lol, I had to explain the concept of privacy a bit that time. Luckily ,we got the possibility to open balanced channels in a trustless way now.

Why do you think it is so important for people to experiment with building their own non-custodial Lightning Node?

Difficult question, but taking some analogy related to languages… as someone who has been attempting to learn German for a long time now, I have realized that getting practical is a more powerful and efficient way of learning than just reading about the benefits about it.

There is a lot of difference in the level of knowledge and experience among members. Why is directing the focus to the educational part and operation techniques of Lightning so important for adoption?

When we don’t understand something, we tend to lose interest or in extreme cases become afraid and develop a posture against it. By setting a safe space for questions and collaborative support to achieve answers, we increase the likelihood and speed of adoption, as users will be able to understand the rationale and logic behind the technology.

What is the best way to eventually reach the mainstream user of our grandfather and grandmother for example? Do we have to solve some problems with Lightning first?

While there are some very easy-to-use solutions out there already (big respect for WoS) – I believe they still require a level of understanding of the essential concepts related to custody, money etc.
For older generations, money was literally different (before the 70s) than for us and now it would be changing again, so I guess this double paradigm shift for them might be a bit too much. But still, if this technology can demonstrate and convince the older generations that their lifetime’s efforts (translated into wealth) can be safely and efficiently transferred to their heirs, it might be worth developing a solution for that – given there is a BIG amount of boomer money out there waiting to be inherited in the next couple of decades.

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