The Bitcoin Lightning Torch makes it to Iran

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Last week Ziya Sadr pleaded on Twitter for the Lightning Torch experiment to be allowed to come to Iran. The lightning torch finds bitcoin users testing out the network by passing around a small payment, each adding roughly 30 cents-worth of bitcoin before passing it on to the next person.

On Sunday, 3rd March, Sadr got his wish and he tweeted “The #LNTrustChain Torch is LIT in Tehran! thanks to the Welshman @bitgeiniog who helped send it here from @BitcoinMagazine.”

It’s a milestone moment for the payments experiment, especially given Iran’s current situation with regard to US sanctions. As Coindesk says, “the payment to Sadr is notable given the question of international sanctions that had begun to impact the exercise. One of the goals of the effort is to demonstrate bitcoin’s power as a global payment system that can be sent anywhere, and the torch has smoothly passed through at least 40 counties so far.”

Hodlonaut, the pseudonymous lightning torch creator, told CoinDesk that the question of whether the torch could be passed to Iran had proved an obstacle.

Sadr had repeatedly asked for the Torch, but had been ignored. One user even decided to pass it to someone else over concerns it might violate US sanctions. However, as Coindesk points out, “That the torch couldn’t get to Iran seemed to betray the game’s principles.”

Bitgeiniog, the Welsh bitcoin enthusiast who decided to ignore any US sanctions, gave an interview saying he had helped further the lightning torch experiment by proving the strengths of the technology in international value transfer: “I see bitcoin as the great leveller for human affairs, the ultimate tool for non-violent resistance,” Bitgeiniog told CoinDesk. “When I saw Ziya asking and asking for the torch […] it was clear what I needed to do.”

He did face some technical obstacles in making the payment, but these were at last overcome and Sadr received the payment in Tehran. Sadr now proposes that the torch should be sent to others promoting “censorship resistance.”

Another participant tweeted, “Great to see that finally someone had the balls! Keep it to the real cypherpunks!”

On Monday, the Torch passed to a recipient in Israel.

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