Alright here we go!

This is André Neves (@andreneves) and I'm the CTO and Co-Founder of ZEBEDEE where we build infrastructure and tools for gamers and game developers to power their virtual economies/points/rewards with Bitcoin.

🎮 Gamer? Get started earning Bitcoin playing games with the ZEBEDEE App for Android or iOS.

🧑🏻‍💻 Game Developer? Get in touch with us to get invite codes and API keys to power your game with Bitcoin!

I've also helped run the BitDevs NYC meetups for the past couple years, and most recently was involved in releasing the Lightning Address protocol that allows users to send and receive Bitcoin over Lightning using human-readable internet identifiers (aka emails).

I will be answering questions starting 2PM ET. I'll try to get to all of them.

Things I'm keen on talking about:

  • ZEBEDEE (+ all of our many products)
  • Lightning Address
  • NYC BitDevs
  • Bitcoin
  • Lightning Network
  • Lightning-powered video games
  • LNURL
  • Payment request orchestration systems
  • Lightning Network node infrastructure
  • Future of Payments
  • Streaming payments
  • Open standards / open networks
  • Chaincode Labs
  • ...more

Things I likely won't chat about:

  • Crypto?

Let's make this fun!

77 sats \ 3 replies \ @nout 13 May

Have you considered providing APIs/Integrations to Minecraft creators?

Reasoning

  • Compared to games like CS where all "players" are driven to improve their skills a win the game - in Minecraft we have tens of millions of "creators" that hack every piece possible from the game and they build amazing things. People create cooperative communities (search "hermicraft" on YT), people hack and mod the game, people do competitions, people design architecture, etc.
  • Minecraft has the largest following on Twitch and Youtube with tens of millions of followers on Youtube - example, example
  • If they would be given simple API or integration to Bitcoin, minecrafters would create amazing new experiences, custom games, etc. (that's why I'm not saying "add ZBD to Minecraft", I think there's way bigger potential than that).
reply

Yes, we've studied Minecraft in depth and as you described it is quite a bit bigger than other games. It's a game platform of sorts when it comes to users creating new experiences and worlds.

It is a vertical we'd love to explore and maybe it's something our R&D team can look more closely at in the near future. We'd need to work with a minecraft wizard to help us explore what is feasible/possible. Is that you?

reply
1012 sats \ 1 replies \ @nout 13 May

I'm probably not the right wizard for the job, but on high level:

  • There are parallel implementation of Minecraft in Java and C++. Java is easier for modding and used more on the shared servers (C++ is on playstations, etc)
  • Large portion of the game logic is defined with JSON files. Minecraft "save files" are folders with JSON files. The JSON files are able to define the game logic (e.g. if you put this item on this item, then this happens). Item specific logic is usually defined in Java (e.g. this item refreshes every 5 ticks and turns red)
  • The Java sourcecode has been de-compiled and you can essentially change anything you want in Java (tutorial) - this would likely be the spot for integration.
  • Every aspect from the game can be modded (e.g. rendering (new shaders...), textures, game dynamics, logic, UI elements...)

I think starting point in the brainstorming would be how to in-game turn diamonds into sats... :)

reply

Cool this is a bunch to go off of. Thanks for the details. I’ll share with my team

reply
100 sats \ 4 replies \ @k00b 13 May

Will we ever get a fantastic non-custodial wallet user experience for products like Zebedee (and ahem SN)? If so, what will need to be done (either on the app side, implementation side, or network/protocol side) to get us such an experience?

reply

I have high hopes for hybrid approaches. Things that excite me on this front:

  • Hosted channels
  • Offline receiving through LSPs

I believe it will be a combination of some network/protocol capabilities coupled with best in class UX for end-users. I don't know whether it will be 100000% non-custodial, but likely a hybrid mix where for some small time period your LSP is holding onto some funds on your behalf. Seems reasonable and achievable.

reply

The solution Breez and Blockstream are working on might be an answer to your needs: https://blog.blockstream.com/lightning-platform-breez-to-integrate-greenlight-to-build-non-custodial-lightning-apps/

reply

Greenlight/lightning-signer? It's definitely a solution to some of the problems our apps face, but apps like ZBD and SN have different needs/user expectations than Breez.

reply

Yeah a bit different offering than what ZBD is aiming for but still very cool. I mean hybrid more in the sense that users can hold keys but ZBD can act as the LSP for liquidity provision and etc.

reply
46 sats \ 1 replies \ @kr 13 May

What is an important question you'd like to hear more Bitcoiners asking?

reply

Not really a specific question, but more of a general take:

If we (Bitcoiners) want people to see Bitcoin as money, we need to think of providing the same, or better, money experience that common folk users have today. Different people value different things - sovereign hard money argument doesn’t sell to all types of people.

It’s okay to want different things out of Bitcoin.

reply

What do you like about Ethereum?

reply

You mispelled Etleneum

reply

hahaha best answer!

reply

Would you rather have a head the size of a watermelon and hands the size of golf balls, or a head the size of a golf ball and hands the size of watermelons?

reply

Huge brain for sure

reply
41 sats \ 1 replies \ @avg 13 May

Best advice and lessons learned for newish CTOs and former senior devs?

reply
  • As a dev, it is very hard to let go of the control, management, and development of the platform/apps you created from scratch. Not being the one calling the architectural shots is tough.
  • As CTO you should definitely not be the best developer in the team (whatever that really means). You're doing something wrong if you are.
  • Trust in the expertise of others in the team (that's why you brought them into the team).
  • Drop the ego.
  • Depending on the size of the company, you'll be doing a TON of not-code-related work (possibly the majority of time?) -> Business Development, Compliance, Legal, Fundraising, Product Marketing, etc. You're involved all the way through big company initiatives.
reply

What do you think is the best way to onboard new users to Lightning?

reply

I'm biased but I think gaming is the most seamless way to onboard a user to Lightning. Once a user has Bitcoin in a game because they completed a quest, they are now incentivized to claim the satoshis.

Whether it's using their ZEBEDEE gamertag or by scanning the Withdraw QR code with any Bitcoin Lightning wallet, the user now has skin in the game. It's the first of many steps towards the so-called Bitcoin rabbit hole.

Play a video game with friends, get onboarded to Bitcoin. That simple. There's 3 billion gamers out in the world. Adding Bitcoin to gaming is a massive trojan horse.

reply
100 sats \ 0 replies \ @Majjin 13 May

Oooh, that's clever! I was thinking in terms of getting people on lightning so that they can play the games. Rewarding players with sats is a much better way to go about it!

reply
  1. Do you think the legendary Tycoon Transport game can be adapted to play with sats?

  2. Do you think in a not a distant future, LN Address can integrated with SMTP and have like a simple client integration of sending sats through any email client? Like a simple special code, like we have mailto: now could be satsto:

  3. Can also have for an email server a system to be added as anti-spam filter on SMTP 5.5.0 NDR rejected message to include an automated payment so the email could be whitelisted? Not using a 3rd party intermediary, but integrated into email server as a plugin or something like that, with LNURL server. Right now I use that on my own email server, but is kinda manually done the process of whitelisting.

  4. What new interesting developments in LN you see for the next 2-3 years?

reply
  1. Short answer - Yes. Long Answer - Yes, wanna do it with us?
  2. There have been discussions of payto:lightning@address.com for example. I think it's possible, but SMTP is an established protocol and I'm not into the weeds of what would take to introduce changes. To be honest it just depends on how big (and how quickly) Bitcoin/LN get online. If the demand is there, there will be those building the user experiences that end-users expect of modern systems and platforms. I think it's more likely that an email client will adopt LN Address sending/receiving on the side rather than on the SMTP protocol. But I'm not too into the weeds here like I said.
  3. That sounds super cool. We have thought of ways to use Lightning Address to do similar things like that inside our product suite as well. Stay tuned ;)
  4. Hybrid custodial approaches. LSPs. Hosted channels. Fiat-to-fiat-through-LN-Address. Stateless invoices. High availability for Lightning nodes.
reply
21 sats \ 2 replies \ @nout 13 May

What's your favorite PIN number? :)

reply
reply

LOLOLOL

reply

How did you come up with lightning address

reply

It was in a chat with Anton from SBW and fiatjaf where we were discussing sending sats to an email-like interface. That conversation sort of died out, until fiatjaf and I on a random Friday decided to revive it and with the help of Hampus and Fitti (and many other folks whose names I don't remember atm) we arrived at the spec for LUD16: https://github.com/fiatjaf/lnurl-rfc/blob/luds/16.md.

That same weekend I built https://lightningaddress.com. The following Thursday I announced the protocol at BitDevs NYC.

At that point, we had ZBD, LNTXBot, SBW, and Blixt Wallet who said would implement support for this interface for sending sats, but only LNTXBot and ZBD could serve Lightning Addresses for their users (custodial servers).

Now everyone has support for sending and/or receiving LN Address payments, with lots of innovations on the way as well. Now my podcasting app can send and receive money to my bitcoin neobank provider. How cool are standards?

reply
20 sats \ 1 replies \ @k00b 13 May

What's an opinion you hold about the future of Bitcoin that few other Bitcoiners agree with you on?

reply

I think it's misguided and unrealistic to assume everyone wants to, or ever will, hold their keys / run their nodes. But idk if few other Bitcoiners agree with this, maybe a lot of them do, not sure.

reply

If you could snap your fingers and have one game integrate Lightning - what would it be and why?

reply

This is a tough one. But probably Smash. Just imagine global esports tournaments where your health is based on sats you come in with. The more hits, the more sats you take from opponents - hunger games style. Pretty epic imo

ZBD Brawl is a Smash-like game that aims to present that scenario live in colors. We’re releasing it in the next few months, lookout for that!

reply

What do you make of Taro? Do you envision this being useful to ZEBEDEE down the line?

reply

I remain cautiously optimistic about Taro at this stage. We're following its developments closely, but I think we're a little ways off before we can use the protocol on mainnet, is my understanding at least.

Theoretically speaking, I could see usecases for it inside of the ZEBEDEE ecosystem, but we'll need to see how it actually works in practice and what is feasible at scale.

reply

What does a day in the life of André Neves look like?

reply

Wake up, eat, ZBD, Bitcoin, breathe, ZBD, more Bitcoin, gym, more ZBD, sleep

reply
10 sats \ 1 replies \ @paul 13 May

Bullish or bearish on NYC for bitcoiners?

reply

This question asks for NYC for Bitcoiners, which is different than the other question, and also has a different answer.

In my opinion bearish --> NYC will not be a place Bitcoiners will seek in the future if things progress as they have.

reply
  • What were some of the challenging design considerations when developing the Lightning Address standard?

  • How do you envision Lightning Addresses's changing in the future?

reply
  1. Because it built on top of the LNURL Pay specification, there were 2 main concerns:

A - the URL path for .well-known/... B - Whether to remain true to the internet-identifier RFC and do username @ domain.com, or whether to change it to username $ domain.com (or some other identifier)

In the end the path chosen was the one that made sense at the time. Hindsight is 20 20 so there's always improvements that can be done, including the structure of the path. I do think it was the right choice to stick to the RFC of internet identifiers, though there are those that disagree as it generates confusion with email addresses. In my opinion, if we are to have a world where money is inherently part of the internet, they money will quickly become part of emails/chat protocols. And there's nothing stopping someone from having the same email address and lightning address, technically.

  1. I expect any Lightning-enabled platform to provide user's with Lightning Addresses since it's the most seamless interface for end-users. I expect more discussions about adding more payment methods under the same Lightning Address. This means a Lightning Address could be used to pay over Lightning through LNURL Pay, or onchain through a Bitcoin addr, or through Keysend given a pubkey, etc, etc. I also expect services that provide hybrid Lightning Address approaches to appear soon (basically they offer you a Lightning Address but they only hold your funds until you're back online, at which point they push the funds to you via keysend --> for example). Also fiat-fx-through-lightning-address is pretty cool.
reply

is bolt12 dead?

reply

“He cannot become old, for he has never been young; he cannot become young, for he has already become old; in a way he cannot die, for he has never lived; in a way he cannot live, for he is already dead.”

― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

reply
21 sats \ 1 replies \ @k00b 13 May

Do you still code? How do you spend most of your time as CTO?

reply

I no longer actively code for ZEBEDEE products. I do code for my own sanity, and for small projects, R&D at ZBD, prototypes and etc. We have expert engineers on deck writing cleaner and more performant code than I ever have.

Loads of meetings. Loads of emails. Loads of slides/diagrams. Loads of brainstorming sessions. Loads of gdocs and notion documents. I am focused now on high-level product and engineering strategy at the company, and working with my awesome team members to execute on these initiatives.

reply

What’s next for ZBD?

reply

Too much to write. But here’s a glimpse at how we see the Future of Payments shaping up: https://andreneves.xyz/p/future-of-payments

reply
10 sats \ 1 replies \ @walle 13 May

Thank you for Lightning Address! Kudos!

reply

Kudos to you too my friend! It's everyone who's building / supporting / backing the protocol that make it what it is.

reply
0 sats \ 0 replies \ @Ge 14 May

Favorite bitcoin book favorite none bitcoin book? And how did you find your best partners if I may ask I'm currently in search and any help would be much appreciated!

reply

Hi André, love what you do and especially big kudos for doing not bending your ideas to go into "crypto space" and going all-in Bitcoin and Lightning.

My question might be extremely off-topic (if so please feel free to ignore it, no worries) -- I've worked for a few VC-backed companies in the Valley and now on a small startup as cofounder funded by friends and family investors (we made it to StartX this year and to the last interview round of YC).

I see a huge potential in Bitcoin not only in my career but as a step forward to the current financial situation going on, and have been thinking to move on to companies like yours, Lightning Labs etc. Is it right to think that if the economy and tech continues to go south, VCs might stop backing tech related companies? (maybe not dot com bubble level, but still bad).

The reason I ask is because I'm debating whether to take the risk and orange-pill my career so to say. For now I'm working on pseudonymous Bitcoin projects as portfolio which I enjoy incredibly, but I am afraid that if, as an example, Coinbase goes down, a lot of Bitcoin-related engineers will start applying to the strong Bitcoin-only or LN focused companies and I might lose a good opportunity right now.

I saw it happen when COVID just hit and lots of engineers who were laid off from Airbnb, etc., started trying to get remote jobs.

Thanks!

reply

There are a few games that are basically just getting Sats for watching ads like e.g. Wheel of Trivia. This game also offers downloading 3rd games and getting Sats for playing them in Wheel of Trivia (which I can then forward to Zebedee).

How sustainable do you think this 3d app arrangement is? Will we get more of these 3rd apps? Or will they stop doing this business once they realize how incredibly low the conversion rate to real paying players is? One notable of these apps is actually TikTok which surprised me a lot - I would really really love to see more of these big fish.

reply

Not sure I understand what you mean by 3rd apps to be honest. Is that 3rd party apps? Are you saying Wheel of Trivia has ads to get you to download other games?

If so this is a pretty standard practice for in-game ads to show App Store downloadable content.

Sorry, but maybe I’m not understanding the question. Where does TikTok come in?

reply

Wheel of Trivia (2nd app) lets me earn sats by downloading TikTok (3rd app) to earn sats. I can then send these sats to Zebedee (1st app).

This has the highest yield in the play-to-earn world and I was wondering how sustainable this arrangement is. But it sounds like you guys are actually pretty far removed from stuff like this from the developers...

reply

What is your relationship/connection to Viker games? Are they customers/partners/friends?

reply

ZEBEDEE is a fintech infrastructure provider for the gaming industry, and we focus on providing Bitcoin-based solutions to partner game developers/game studios like Viker Games.

reply

Really? You aren't having (private) relationships behind the scenes with the developers?! That actually surprises me a lot.

reply

WHat are your hobbies? Do you like things besides bitcoin + lightning?

reply

Sci-fi, audiobooks, gym, internet things, building weird websites, food. But mostly I do Bitcoin/LN and ZBD stuff 20hrs out of every day.

reply

What does ZEBEDEE stand for?

reply

Most people don't know this, but ZEBEDEE is actually a recursive acronym:

"ZEBEDEE Empowers Bitcoin-Enabled Digital Economy Engines"

This is why it's all caps ;)

But really, if I'm not mistaken we worked backwards from DEE (Digital Economy Engines) since our focus is to empower the builders of digital economic engines inside virtual worlds/environments.

reply

What's the biggest hurtle to companies, which currently accept Bitcoin, accepting lightning network payments?

reply

It really depends on whether you’re using a 3rd party service provider or if you are running the Bitcoin infrastructure yourself. There are tools like BTCPayServer that make it possible for you to host a sophisticated Bitcoin/Lightning setup from home pretty easily. That being said Lightning nodes require active management, unlike Bitcoin Core nodes.

I’d say pick your flavor. Maybe test with a provider first and then spend time and resources moving it to your own infrastructure if it makes sense? It’s really dependent on your technical profile imo.

reply

Is Zebedee working to allow NY users? (I'd understand if not, regulations are rough.)

reply

Yes, we are working hard to expand to all states in the US, including NY. Expanding to more regions is a high priority initiative at ZBD.

reply

Why is the ZEBEDEE Platform invite-only?

reply

We are invite-only as we continue perfecting the product and the user flows. We hope to be open for all developers to use without the need for invite codes later this year.

If you are a game developer and want access, please reach out!

reply

Zebedee, please add swap sats lightning to bitcoin... Just sats lightning and bitcoin..

killbrodbank

reply

Do you mean sending/receiving onchain Bitcoin as well as Lightning? If so, this is something we're going to be rolling out to the entire ZBD platform (APIs, Dev Dashboard, ZEBEDEE App) this year. It means you'll be able to pay Bitcoin QR codes as well as create Bitcoin addresses to receive funds onchain.

In a gaming environment, nothing beats Lightning in my opinion. The instantaneity is essential, can't be waiting for blocks to be mined. That being said, there are countless reasons to have onchain support on the platform.

reply

How does a small business handle the tax & legal side of streaming sats to & from our software users? Compliance is the primary reason we have not approached Lightning integration... Any insight appreciated. Great work, big fan of yours.

reply

oi!

Is there any plan to integrate ZEBEDEE into RTS games? big fan of Age of Empires 4 here ⚡️🏰🐪🏹

reply

ZBD is focused on providing the best developer experience for games developers to integrate Bitcoin into their games. As infrastructure and service provider, we're not focusing on adding ZBD service into games ourselves specifically.

We do have games we publish under the ZEBEDEE umbrella to showcase what is possible with our technology and to educate partner games developers on what possible user flows look like.

There may be some new upcoming developments on the ZBD Infuse front though! Stay tuned. Love AoE, would love to see a team infuse it with Bitcoin through ZEBEDEE!

reply

gg ez

obrigado!

reply

Bullish or bearish on NYC?

reply

Short term bearish? Long term bullish? Unsure really.

It's all about opportunity cost, and it depends what you prioritize.

reply

How do you come up with so many cool product ideas???

reply

The best products are products you'd want to use yourself. The ZBD platform is incredibly versatile, and coupled with Bitcoin's global nature, Lightning's instantaneity, and Lightning Address' experience, we can create some dope products.

ZBD Infuse for Counter Strike was born out of a prototype by Chris to infuse Bitcoin into Quake. ZBD Bots came out of a brainstorming with fiatjaf over Discord. etc

reply