Hi everyone!
My name is Graham Krizek and I'm doing an AMA for the next hour.
For those that aren't familiar, I'm the Founder and CEO of Voltage (https://voltage.cloud). I've been an engineer and bitcoiner for about 10 years. I love solving new problems in Bitcoin and helping drive adoption of this amazing technology. I created Voltage specifically for this and it's been incredible working alongside this community.
Excited to answer your questions! Fair warning, I suck at typing...
Looks like we're at an hour so thank you everyone for the questions! It was fun. Stay humble and stack sats.
The future on LN is bright and we've go so much to build. If you ever want to chat DMs are open and be on the look out for when we start hiring next if interested. Have a great day! God bless
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oh, and stupid come to say something
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I may be stupid, but at least I don't come on here to shill my b- wait, nevermind.
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Yo Graham thanks for doing this SN AMA!
I have noticed you have an incredible team at Voltage. I can name almost all of your employees who inspire me on a daily basis. I have two questions...
What sort of pre-requisites do you use when you choose people to come work at Voltage?
Also how would you describe your management style?
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That's a hard question because I don't feel like we have any pre-requisites at all. It's all about fit with the team. One of our employees used to work in the airline industry before coming to us. So we don't necessarily look for X, Y, and Z. It's more about "Are you a smart person that's eager to learn and fit in with the team we have". We have been very luck in being able to find a full team of incredible people.
My management style is very hands off. I'm not anyone's baby sitter. But on the contrary I'm there when you need me. I want to make sure everyone is taken care of in whatever they need. We all got a 'get shit done' attitude at Voltage so it works well. I empower employees to do their best and have the freedom to make their own decisions.
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Where did the idea of Voltage come from?
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My background is in infrastructure engineering. I've also been in Bitcoin since 2012. So naturally, I really understood infra/devops really well and when I tried to set up my own Lightning node on a raspberry pi it was the worst dev experience I ever had. I knew we could do better.
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How does your new Surge product differ from Ride the lightning/Thunderhub? When will it be released? Can I run it locally?
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Surge will differ in a lot of ways. #1 is its time series. RTL/TH are point in time right now. So instead of seeing what your peers are doing right now, you'll be able to be see what they were doing for the last week+. Additionally we're bringing a lot of the Observability practices that exist in the standard tech space into Lightning. Like Alerts, Security, Analysis, etc.
We're about to start opening it up to select beta testers in September and expanding from there.
It will have an agent that will be OSS and will be able to be run locally. The Surge service itself will be hosted for us by now, but eventually will probably be able to run the whole stack locally.
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  1. What represent bitcoin for you, personally?
  2. How long do you think will take until at least 50% of the world population will use BTC?
  3. What is, in your opinion, the biggest challenge for bitcoin adoption?
  4. What is the biggest threat to bitcoin, today?
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  1. Freedom is the best representation of Bitcoin for me. It has the unmatched ability for you to truly own your wealth and not require permission to use it.
  2. Honestly I think for 50% to be using Bitcoin natively we're a pretty far ways off from that. However I think the more immediate opportunity is for Bitcoin to be used behind the scenes in a lot of products and services. Like Strike for example. It's the superior payments mechanism and we'll probably start with strictly the rail adoption first, then more to direct consumer usage.
  3. Education. There's still a lot of tools that need to be developed but there's still 80%+ of the world that has no idea what bitcoin is or how it works. Honestly most don't care to know and we need to help them understand why it's important to learn about.
  4. Regulation. We've got wind in our sails right now. The thing that can really suck that air out is some really bad laws and regulation that makes it impossible to use or interact with.
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What does your typical customer profile look like now? How do you envision your customer profile (and platform) evolving with LN growth over the next three years?
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Right now we're really focused on solving the business use case. So small to large businesses are who we work with the most. Over time I think we'll be able to service a wider spectrum. We have ideas and plans to solve problems for both individual users as well as the largest enterprises. They're needs are very different so it will take time to solve the problems, but we are creating a Lightning platform. That's going to be applicable to everyone.
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Hi Graham, thanks for taking time for an AMA. I would love to hear any background you are able to share about how you started Voltage. What were the biggest highlights from your first year as a company as you got things off the ground?
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Great question. So I started Voltage because it was my Ikigai. It was clear a service like this was needed in the space and I felt like I had the ability to solve the need.
For the more practical side of things, I wrote the Voltage platform on my own in my nights and weekends while I had a full time job. I launched it and tried to just get users by talking to people and spreading the word. It started to take off enough that I was able to raise some venture capital money to help sustain it (Infra hosting is not cheap) and started hiring. Things have been rolling since!
Biggest highlight is to stay nimble early. This is a totally new technology and every day you gotta question your assumptions and ensure you are solving the right problems at the right time.
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Thanks for all of your insight and background. Very cool to hear, and congratulations on an amazing platform, products, and company success!
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Any plans to offer other implementations of lightning besides LND. Also what are your thoughts on Taro? Do you think the blocksize limit will hinder LND and Taro ambition to on board the next billion people?
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Yes, working on CoreLN right now. Taro is interesting, I think it's too early to say exactly how it's going to play out. Certainly a lot of interest from others and something we'll keep an eye on. No, I don't think block size will hinder LN and Taro.
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CoreLN would be highly appreciated πŸ™πŸ½
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Are there any books that have meaningfully changed your view of the world?
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So I'm honestly not big into books and I never have been. However I read all day every day on the internet (articles, research, etc).
But the piece of reading that has meaningfully changed my life is the Silk Road forums back in the day. When you think about the SR Forums you probably think about a bunch of druggies talking about their favorite dealer of coke, but it really wasn't that at all. It was this community of technologists that shared a common view on the world and individual freedoms. I learned so much from that community and it was an incredible learning experience for both technology (Tor, PGP, Bitcoin) and liberty (freedom, choice, values).
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Voltage is doing some amazing things and I have enjoyed watching the product grow. The new liquidity option that came out a few weeks ago is killer!
What are you anticipating in Voltage’s next 12 months?
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Thank you! We appreciate your support.
There's so many things to build and things change rapidly in our environment. So we always gotta be making sure we're building the right solution for the right user at the right time. 12 months is like 5 years in Lightning haha. But to answer the question, we want to expand the platform to make hosting even better (more geographical hosting locations, more apps, more implementations, etc). The most immediate new product is Surge which helps node operators with observability. We also want to solve a lot of issues around liquidity, as well as making Lightning easier to integrate noncustodially for companies. This is a lot of things and our roadmap is ambitious. But we need all of these services to really drive LN forward.
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how many sats do you predict will be in lightning channels by end of year?
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Haha, predictions like this are always hard and never right. Say a 10% MoM growth and we'd be at ~6,825 BTC.
I think 2023 will be a bigger year for liquidity. There's a lot of Bitcoin sitting on the side lines that wants to be deployed into the network. We just gotta create the tools and services to make it easier to deploy. Stay tuned on that one
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Curious your vision of the future regarding lightning nodes being run in the cloud vs. at home?
Do you feel projects like Umbrel will continue to evolve to the point where running a lightning node will be as simple as a home appliance by just turning on a switch.
10 years in the future what do you envision?
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I think things are going to spread more than they already are. There's so much that's possible to separate various pieces of the Bitcoin stack. So I think over time there's 30 ways interact with the Lightning Network instead of 2 or 3. This sounds overwhelming because of the options, but there will be clear paths based on what you want to accomplish.
It's possible for the at-home node stuff to proliferate, but we're a long way off. There's so many issues still out there like liquidity, remote access, etc. We gotta make it as easy as using a toaster, and we're not close to that. So it's possible, but alluding to my answer above, maybe it's not every single thing running in your home node, but only pieces.
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Is Voltage a good option for regular lightning enthusiast plebs or more for apps and business and services like Zero Fee Routing.
I love the idea of having a LN node and having it remote and plug and play but wondering if it is overkill for a regular average small volume low liquidity user just starting out.
Also when CLN?
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We definitely have a lot of lightning enthusiasts that use us. Some advantages are the remote node (can move around freely), low cost to get started, and instant setup. So if you just want to play around with Lightning we are still a good solution for that. However a lot of efforts are put toward the business use case. These will converge over time however. (Think easy, medium, hard modes of the same platform) You can run a lightning node on Voltage for $12 a month and when you want to move to a several hundred dollar node at home you can.
CLN is in progress. So much to do so it takes a while, but its definitely being worked on and in progress.
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Thanks man! πŸ‘ŠπŸ»
In general do you think it could still be useful if I already have an Umbrel LN node at home?
I know it totally depends on my specific use case and intentions etc.
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Do you think we can continue to grow the lightning user base at the same pace without onboarding new entrants almost exclusively onto custodial nodes/wallets? How do you see this playing out?
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Great question and yes I do think we can do that. There's more developments that need to happen but it's something we're working on and I know others are too. I think we can definitely get more users interacting with Lightning without going straight custodial.
This is really hard today because essentially the only option to today nontcustodially is to setup a node, manage liquidity, all that. Most people don't want to do that. So as soon as we can abstract more of that away, then noncustodial Lightning will be the way people enter bitcoin.
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Graham in the house, and I'm not talking crackers Voltage.cloud full of top notch hackers Bitcoin doesn't need VCs, no need for backers We might not be rich, but we're all still stackers
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When is Voltage going to open up its platform to allow prepackaged software as addons to be installed on demand by users?
Also when lnurl for account top-up?
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Favorite SciFi novel?
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Just a thought experiment question: If an entity had one million bitcoin and didn't need it, they could chose to spend it, hold it, or give it away. What happens if they choose to hold it and eventually all bitcoin is owned by a few entities ? Would the rest of the world own derivatives of bitcoin and how would that affect the long term value proposition of bitcoin?
Also (beginner question) is it possible to transfer SATS via the lightening network to anyone, using a single app like Strike? For example, Can I send SATS from Strike to someone using a different App to receive it?
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Are there examples and instructions somewhere of how I can start up a node and know how to get it up and running?
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