I am @MoritzKaminski contributor to Alby as many others out there in the community.

Alby brings bitcoin to the web with a browser-based app. You can send and receive payments with your normal browser on the Lightning Network. You can set a budget for each website to conveniently spend without switching apps or looking for your payment details.

You can also use Alby to conveniently login into websites with Lightning logins, and If you already have a Bitcoin Lightning wallet, it lets you connect your personal wallet or create a new one with Alby.

Alby builds the bridge to access web apps on top of the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Developers now have a simpler way to onboard users and interact with the users´ wallets. Alby is open-source. Feel free to join our community on Telegram or follow us on Twitter.

Topics to ask us about:

  • Bitcoin and Lightning
  • All things about Alby
  • Bitcoin Lightning web apps
  • Open-source contributions

Let’s start! 🚀

related

I recently downloaded Alby and it is a fantastic product - thank you! It is great to have a native extension and the UI/UX is very smooth.

What has been the biggest challenge of gaining user adoption and new downloads? How do you overcome any questions or issues of trust (given the sensitive nature of data that can be seen in a browser extension)? Have any specific marketing/outreach/etc efforts been most successful for driving user adoption?

That´s why Alby is a client-side only application. We provide more details about the question of security in our FAQs here: https://guides.getalby.com/overall-guide/ But you are right we have to provide an excellent service and constantly earn the trust of our users.

262 sats \ 1 replies \ @dolu 5 Jul

Is it planned to export your connectors as an NPM package? I think it's too bad to see you building one and Zeus too but none of you export it as package. I have also started a NPM package few months ago before I discover alby

We are thinking about that and would love to support this effort as well as standardize APIs for greater interoperability. Happy to talk about that and discuss the requirements on our Telegram or Slack channel.

I really like alby as a concept. Is there a roadmap for what could come next?

That`s a good point. Would you like to see a public roadmap? A part of our roadmap is to build out further connectors to other Lightning wallets. We are also thinking about how Alby can provide a convenient way to acquire sats and try out all these different Lightning apps on the web.

Would be nice to integrate somehow with Fountain and Stacker News, shared wallets perhaps not sure the best thinking though.

169 sats \ 1 replies \ @Alby OP 5 Jul

You can already use Alby to login to Stacker News. Or would you like to use your Alby wallet directly on Stacker News?

Ya I see the ln auth features. I was thinking of one wallet all sites kinda thing.

What have been the biggest challenges building and running Alby as an open source project and company? What have been the biggest benefits?

There are a lot of very skilled developers and designers that are helping us to build Alby. Without them, we would not be there, where we are today. We can still get better at coordinating different developer requests and provide more streamlined guidance.

200 sats \ 3 replies \ @kr 5 Jul

What do most users use Alby for today?

Are there any specific use cases that you’ve heard users talking about over and over again?

150 sats \ 2 replies \ @Alby OP 5 Jul

We actually don´t know in detail because we do not track users. Based on conversations with users we see quite a variety of use cases ranging from tipping on social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and individual websites, to accessing Lightning web apps or even developers building and testing their apps.

0 sats \ 1 replies \ @kr 5 Jul

Makes sense, what is Alby’s north star metric that you track to determine whether or not you’re succeeding as a company?

We are certainly still very early as an industry but the number of users is typically a good indicator. These are public anyway on the browser stores.

What security considerations were made when developing Alby?

Security is a super important topic for us. There are various levels of security here. First of all the connection from Alby to a wallet. That's one reason why Alby can connect to different backends. This allows you as a user to choose whatever setup you are happy with. For example, depending on your setup you can connect to LND directly or create a special limited account with something like lndhub or lnbits. (btw. we also push the development of a new lndhub implementation for this) Then there is the connection from the website to Alby. Alby always prompts the user before a website can interact with the wallet. Here we plan to have an extensive permission system with detailed control and transparency for the user.

Do you think in add more social aspect to Alby? Like allow users share the sites they do payments? So all Alby users could see it.

Yes, that could be an interesting option. If we have confidence that the majority of users appreciate such a feature, we will prioritize it. Conducting a user study could be useful.

121 sats \ 2 replies \ @moon 5 Jul

Say I donate to someone in a website using Alby. How do they get their sats, do they have to make an account? Does it work with any platform?

We hope you find answers to your questions in our guides: https://guides.getalby.com/overall-guide/ If not, feel free to DM on moritz@getalby.com

to add to that: Alby sends sats to the destination the recipient chooses. And because we build on the Lightning Network the recipient can choose whatever tool/service they want to use. If we talk about sending to a meta tag on a website it can be a Lightning Address no matter from which provider.

Is and will alby be free to onboard and use , will it be able to remain as anonymous as possible? Ie will my web history be tracked and stored anong with any kyc info attached to these sites?

Alby does not track and store your usage data. We aim at keeping it as anonymous as possible and are confident that it can stay like this if you use Alby with your own private wallet. In the future, there might be a non-custodial wallet service from Alby. But there could also be services that ask for personal information due to regulatory requirements. But it should be up to the user to decide to use such a service or not.

100 sats \ 1 replies \ @And1 5 Jul

Are there any new features you're looking forward to?

We want to bring Lightning to the web. That´s why we keep adding locations where you can use Alby such as Stackoverflow. And that list will increase further. But I am personally also excited about how we can automate payments and make it easier for users to create and manage budgets. That would be another step towards the idea of streaming payments.

As someone who invests in different Lightning companies, what does the future and timeline of the Bitcoin/Lightning evolution and adoption look like? And given any numbers or predictions on how this could play out, how do you convince investors to invest in Lightning portfolio companies instead of Bitcoin itself?

Given its young state, the Lightning ecosystem has been evolving quickly and that will only accelarate with better tools. Why should we differentiate between Bitcoin and Lightning use cases? They will depend on each other and benefit from its value proposition. Personally, we are just excited about the great number of potential use cases around instant and borderless payments.

What do you think of lqwd company? Looks like they are growing and setting up international routing nodes.

I think it's very interesting, looks like they could offer 'banking' services on yield they generate from routing and bring in additional capital (and provide the returns with their routing expertise/algos/etc)

Since using fountain I've been thinking about how they are closing the loop with premium onboarding of sats as those who want listeners pay for them, I was wondering of alby could do something simliar by having sites stream sats to users who visit and reshare pages on sites and thus earn sats they can then use to tip

there could be tiers set for

time on site Creating accounts - with alby Login with alby interact with the site like sharing pages etc

And you know you're reaching real users

This will give a lot of sites incentives to enable alby as it will attract traffic

Is this something that could be possible?

That´s an exciting idea. Creating a closed loop economy can become a game changer because it so easy to exchange value over the Lightning Network. Actually a lot of building stones are already in place. https://webln.twentyuno.net/scroll can be reverted to pay out sats to website visitors for instance. The sats are collected in your wallet that is connected to Alby and can be spent again on another website. The interesting part here is it is an open system and works with any WebLN enabled wallet.

Thanks for the response and the link, checked it out, totally what I was thinking paying plebs to scroll and consume content, LN apps/wallets can add RSS feed support and make it super easy for people to consume/pay for content or earn.

10 sats \ 1 replies \ @k00b 5 Jul

If you could ask all lightning web apps to do one thing, aside from implementing ln-auth and WebLN, what would it be?

... to strive for interoperability by creating and using open standards.

10 sats \ 1 replies \ @k00b 5 Jul

What are some of the struggles you had connecting to a user's wallet from a browser? What would make that easier?

100 sats \ 0 replies \ @Alby OP 5 Jul

That is still quite a challenge, indeed, especially when your node runs behind Tor. That´s why we created a companion app that you can download and install locally during the onboarding process on Alby. It serves as a Tor proxy for your remote node and makes use of the browser’s native messaging protocol to securely interact with your browser. No additional configuration is required. That solves a lot of problems. On top of that, we are also looking at other technologies like Lightning Node Connect to see how we can integrate that into Alby.

10 sats \ 1 replies \ @k00b 5 Jul

What was the most surprising thing about building Alby?

We are super happy that the whole ecosystem welcomed Alby so openly. Users share feedback and ideas on how to improve. The open-source community of developers, designers, and even content creators is growing. This culture is very important to grow as a whole ecosystem and get better over time. Finally, it is always great to see when another app implements WebLN or when website operator adds a Lightning meta tag to the website to receive sats.

Wen more bounties?

More seriously, What are your plans to make Alby (and overall Lightning infra/tool development) sustainable* in the long run?

  • since we don't print our own fake, free money

That´s true, we don´t print our own money. And yes even an open-source project like Alby needs regular income to be sustainable and provide reliable user support. We have several projects on our roadmap that we plan to launch over the upcoming months. For example, every user should have seamless access to sats on the Lightning Network. That could become a premium service. But we are also looking into opportunities how we can support publishers and app developers to plug into the Lightning Network and enable them to receive sats from their audience.

Is Alby a company that can bring people into Bitcoin or just thriving from the preexisting Bitcoin community?

That is our goal. We want and need to bring new people into Bitcoin. I good way to introduce people to bitcoin is through 1) education and 2) building more straightforward onboarding tools. The extension is one of these tools and the user experience is crucial. To provide regular educational content we are operating a blog here: https://blog.getalby.com/

That's awesome. Do you have a way to find out / quantify this distinction? Or at least a gut feeling to estimate what percentage of users are new to Bitcoin?

Until we have direct and more convenient onramps to bitcoin on the Lightning Network users always have to get onchain bitcoin first. But this will change within the next months.

Will Lightning one day be synonymous with Bitcoin?

Or will we have to say "Bitcoin-Lightning" and confuse normies from now until reality?

We see Lightning as an enabler technology for faster and inexpensive transactions. What happens at the interface to the user is up to apps.

I'd like a tutorial for how to automatically convert the sh$tcoin BAT into some sats through the brave browser

0 sats \ 2 replies \ @vijo 6 Jul

I've imported my Alby lightning wallet into BlueWallet. In Alby under "Recent Transactions" I can only see transactions done in Alby, not the ones done with BlueWallet. Is this by design?

Yes, this is currently the case in the Alby browser wallet. Alby tries to add as much metadata and context as possible to a transaction. E.g. it stores on which website for what you did the payment. This information is stored only locally and that's why Alby currently only shows payments done from within Alby.

63 sats \ 0 replies \ @vijo 6 Jul

Oh ok. From an UX point of view, I would find it better to see all transactions, not just the ones done in Alby. It was a bit confusing for me at first, because the balance shown in Alby changed, although no new transactions were shown (as I did them via BlueWallet).

Just friendly feedback - other than that I really like Alby. It's what finally got me started on lightning :)

Why the "Only connect to a website you trust" warning? Alby not trustless? This is confusing and keep people from linking their nodes imo.

Thanks for this feedback. If you "connect to a website" you allow this particular website to perform certain actions such as requesting an invoice to make payouts to your wallet. As phishing is a problem on the internet Alby protects the user and double-checks before using a website for the first time. So Alby basically acts as an agent on your behalf.

0 sats \ 2 replies \ @Lux 5 Jul

When on mobile?

... once we have conquered the web with bitcoin. There are great Lightning apps out there. But going mobile is exciting, indeed. If we think we can create value, we are in.

After all our goal is to allow web developers to build great Lightning-enabled web apps and to greatly improve the UX when interacting with lightning on the web. There is a lot of brainstorming going on about how this can look like on mobile (e.g. connecting your one lightning wallet to various mobile apps - instead of having different wallet accounts in the various apps). But we don't know yet for sure how this will work or how it will look.