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How to Use a Boltcard 

What is the boltcard, why does it look like a magic trick and how can you use it? It’s all in here.

The Bolt Card is one of the most exciting projects in the lightning ecosystem. It’s open source, meaning anyone can use it and develop on it. That’s the only way it might get any mainstream adoption after all, not with closed systems.

Here’s the Boltcard explained.

It’s so easy, a kid can use it!

One of the best implementations of boltcard is the Coincorner one. You can sign up here to get a few extra sats.

They offer a selection of nice-looking boltcards you can order, but as I said it is open source so you can use any version you like.

I prefer the ones from

Here’s some with my own designs on them, with LED laser eyes that light up when you use them for that extra coolness factor.

You can see that article for videos of the LEDs lighting up when used.

You can load the boltcards with Coincorner or with the proper LnBits plugin.

The coincorner option is the easiest one. You just make an account, use the app as normal, tap the “Cards” button. It asks you to bring the card close to the NFC chip. You’ll have to have the NFC enabled, and the app might ask for permissions. Allow everything and then you’ll be prompted to wipe the card. Make sure it’s empty. The video above by BTCSessions should cover everything and it’s the same process for any implementation.

Then you just set up a transaction limit and it pulls sats from your Coincorner balance. Buy some sats through coincorner or send some from your other wallets and you’re ready to go. It effectively uses an lnbits instance that they run on their server to make the transaction. Careful, there’s no PIN and no confirmation, so anyone with the card can make payments. Set up limits and also you can freeze the card through the app should you lose it. It also seems that you can only have one boltcard set up at the same time, which is a shame if you have many of them for fun. You can sign up here to get a few extra sats.

Otherwise, to set it up you’re going to need lnbits, the boltcard plugin, and an NFC card writer program on your phone. I can’t remember which one I used when I gave it a try but a search on Google App Store for NFC Tools shows some options. What I do remember is that you have to write the string that lnbits generates in plaintext, not url. It’s something that starts with lightning and a lot of alphanumeric characters. That string automatically signs the transaction, so keep it safe. And it uses the sats you’ve added in the wallet.

If you can’t run lnbits on your node, you might be able to use Voltage Cloud which is essentially a hosted instance of a lightning node.

Voltage.Cloud is a hosted solution for lightning nodes and a BTCPayServer while you still hold your own keys. It’s great for experimentation and for businesses worried with uptime, reliability and speed. Buy through a Bitcoin Company gift card for up to 21% satsback.

Or you can run an instance at

Coincorner has some video tutorials for all these.

Another cool option is to get an NFC tag and just turn it into a boltcard. Any NFC tag will probably work if you can wipe it and add the payment string, in plaintext as I said before.

It all looks cool and very much like a magic trick once set up, you won’t be disappointed.

But the best implementation might be the Bitcoin Ring. It’s exactly like a boltcard but in the shape of a ring, so you can just swipe your hand and make a payment.

The Bitcoin Ring is exactly like a boltcard in a ringy form. Use it to pay with sats like a magic trick, or to propose. Either is fine. Use the coupon code LOVEISBITCOIN for 10% off.

I know I carry my own boltcard in my wallet with a small amount of sats on Coincorner, just so I can use it during bitcoin conferences. Hopefully I’ll be able to use it in many shops around the world.

What do you think? Are you convinced that the future of payments is going to be built on lightning?

Did you enjoy this story? Then send some sats to the author!

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