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Desiree has the best job in the world: building THNDR, a company that integrates lightning into (mobile) gaming. The company is hyperfocused on mobile gaming because they believe the future of gaming is mobile. Mobile is rapidly growing and makes up more than the gaming market than PC and console gaming combined. The more accessible price point of mobile games allows it to reach a wider audience who typically don’t have access to PC or console gaming.
CTW: ‘Where do you think THNDR is four years from now?’
Desiree: ’I think we are one of the biggest mobile gaming development companies of the world, outperforming King and the other big shots from today.’
Watch or listen to the full interview or start reading below! Enjoy!
What was your first experience with the lightning network and do you still know what you did/saw at that moment?
To be honest, I can’t really remember my first experience. But I do remember very early on someone sending me bitcoin via lightning and being shocked at how fast it was. One of the most memorable moments though was when the Lightning torch happened. It was the first time I really felt that people were catching on to how powerful it is.
Do you pay with your own node or with a custodial wallet when you go to shops in your neighborhood?
Is paying with Lightning already possible in these places?
Nowhere in my neighborhood accepts Lightning payments. There are a few that accept bitcoin. I do run my own node, but when I am out and about and somewhere that accepts lightning I typically use Breez wallet.
What’s your favorite Lightning project at the moment other than THNDR?
I am very excited about Stacker News and also Amboss.
We have services like satsback.com, lollie.com and others.
What other type of services would you like to see/use in the lightning scene in the near future?
I would love to be able to pay per minute when watching shows or movies. I hate having to subscribe to so many services to only watch a few shows. I think streaming payments could be very powerful here.
Where will be the lightning gaming industry in 4 years from now and THNDR?
Hard to say! We are aiming to be as big as King!
If more developing countries are embracing Bitcoin and Lightning, what will this mean for those countries, their people, and to their economical states?
Will the western countries fall behind on technological developments that they can no longer catch up with?
Bitcoin and Lightning will level the playing field. Western countries will eventually join the trend, but now is the time for developing countries to regain power.
Geyser is a Lightning-native Bitcoin crowdfunding platform. You’re part of the board of Bitcoiners reviewing applications for the Geyser Grants to help support all the Bitcoin creators out there to transform their ideas into reality.
Why do you think it is so important, in a general sense and for yourself, to help all those different people active on contributing in their own way to the Bitcoin and Lightning ecosystem?
Adoption starts at the community level. Bitcoin opens up so many new opportunities and use cases. There truly is something here for everyone. When people are building, they are trying to solve problems or create something they want that wasn’t possible before bitcoin and the Lightning Network. And if they are building it, there is a good chance there are other people in the world who would benefit from it too. Geyser is doing amazing work to help the community build and bring products to more people, who will ideally reach new audiences.
Developments in the Lightning Network and all tools around it are happening at an incredible speed! So what’s the most necessary to develop to get more pre-coiners aboard? And what is being done to make it more user-friendly?
Easier, more accessible onramps. Right now accessing your first bitcoin is scary, cumbersome, and generally overwhelming. This is one thing we are addressing at THNDR. Mobile games are an easy, fun, and familiar way to present bitcoin to new users.
THNDR is a great and easy way to reward pre-coiners to start stacking sats. This experience really helps the adoption of Bitcoin and Lightning! What else is needed in the future for further Bitcoin adoption in your opinion?
Better UX. If the UX is good, you don’t even need to use your brain to use the product. We need this for bitcoin. For example, users don’t need to know they are using Lightning when they are sending bitcoin. It can be totally abstracted to provide a more seamless experience.
What security concerns of the lightning network do you think are undervalued nowadays?
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What is the size of your record breaking snake in the newest Bitcoin Snake game?
I like Bitcoin Snake, but it stressed me out a bit. My highest score on the “Desiree” THNDR ID is 1171. But I think I had something higher when it was still in TestFlight.
THNDR is a Lightning based company and I imagine advertisement revenue is paid in fiat. Does THNDR have 2 balance sheets, one in BTC and one in dollar or Euro?
Yes, adrev is paid in fiat… for now. Someday I hope we can consolidate everything once we reach the global bitcoin standard.
Mobile gaming is fun, easy and their is a really big crowd to orange pill but when is THNDR Games making the step to or switch to other devices like PlayStation, Xbox or even pcgaming (interoperability OS)
We are hyperfocused on mobile, because we believe the future of gaming is mobile. Mobile is rapidly growing and makes up more than the gaming market than PC and console gaming combined. The more accessible price point of mobile games allows us to reach a wider audience who typically don’t have access to PC or console gaming.
What is more important for success: Building more games with a different gaming style. Or is the user experience improvement of Lightning more important?
The user experience. We are optimizing our games and products so bitcoin is seamlessly integrated in the the mobile experience users are already used to. We can continue putting out games, but if the experience isn’t top notch, no one will play them.
To be able to develop more new games in the future: What is THNDR Games doing to be profitable? Are all the revenues coming mainly from running ads? How does the business model of THNDR Games work?
Right now ad revenue, IAPs (in app purchases), and sponsorships. We have more in the works, but we aren’t revealing the special sauce just yet.
Satsback recently partnered with the crowdfunding platform Geyser to be able to now automatically fund projects on the Geyser platform. This really shows the interoperability of Lightning businesses and could give adoption a boost.
Aside from reaching pre-coiners with THNDR Games, do you also see a possibility to add the incentive to let gamers play while also funding a specific Bitcoin or Lightning project on Geyser? Or is this a complete other target group? (Could be a great tournament!)
We are working on possibilities like this. Many of our users want to donate their winnings to a good cause.
Will you add the possibility to withdraw automatically to an external Lightning wallet with a Lightning address?
We would like to.
You released four Bitcoin games: Bitcoin Bounce, Turbo 84, Bitcoin Bay & Bitcoin Snake.
What game is the most successful? Can you give us some insides?
It really depends on what metrics you are measuring for success. Bitcoin Bay is incredibly popular. But I think our next release will surpass all of the ones we have right now.
When will you release a new game and what type of game will it be? A Tetris look-a-like?
In the next few weeks. I can’t tell you too much. But it isn’t Tetris, although that would be fun!
What infrastructure do you use? A cloud environment like AWS for example or hardware?
In Episode 15 I told Jack Everitt (CTO of THDNR Games) that the cat in the hyper casual bubble shooter Thunder Bay is an amazing mascot! 😉 He told us that you all are fans of the crab character. Are there plans for a sequel or spin off with the crab in it?
Haha Spark is a lot of fun. But Claude the crab is definitely my favorite! He is a bit cranky because he is in charge of squashing bugs. Not sure if he will get his own spin off, but I think there is a possibility he may make some guest appearances in the other games.
Do you have plans to integrate the nostr protocol in some way to enhance the social interactive experience of the community when playing tournaments?
It is a very interesting project, but not something that is on our immediate roadmap.
What kind of other layer 3 solution would you like to see in the future ?
I like what the folks at Impervious are building.
People have to make an account via Apple or Google. So I can imagine that you get some insights and analytics from these companies? From what continent do you have the most players?
Depends on the game and the device!
What’s the biggest problem you encountered or hurdle that you had to overcome with THNDR Games?
Banking. Getting a bank account set up being in both the “crypto” and “gaming” space was an incredibly long journey. And if other companies are struggling with this, please shoot me an email, I would love to help!
What kind of Bitcoin game would you like to develop in the future with unlimited resources?
Short term, I just want frogger. Medium term, Would love a multi-player like Fall Guys or Among Us. Long term, something like LoL: Wild Rift.
When can we sign with Lightning instead of other accounts like Twitter? Is this on the roadmap?
This is something we have on the roadmap parking lot. We don’t implement features that our users aren’t requesting. The team would absolutely love to implement this, but right now we don’t really have a business case for doing so. Once there Is, you will see it!
Will you work/collaborate with other Lightning compagnies in near future? Who are the candidates?
Yes, 100%. They are all candidates! There are a few we are already working with being the scenes, so stay tuned 🙂
We talked with many guests about how important speed and deliverability are for adopting the Lightning Network. For example, nobody wants to wait 8 seconds for a payment to be processed. What do you think can help to make the Lightning Network much faster in the near future?
More time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We need the network to grow and more time to optimize it.
What management tool do you prefer to use with your node and why?
I personally use Umbrel. The dashboard is beautiful.
We have LND (lightning labs), c-lightning (Blockstream), eclair (Acinq), and some more… These are all implementations on the second layer. Do you run/test them all?
We run LND.