River Financial Offers Payment Gateway for Bitcoin’s Multi-Asset Upgrade

River Financial, a San Francisco-based Bitcoin technology and financial services company, has unveiled River Lightning Services (RLS), a payments gateway that utilizes a forthcoming upgrade to the Lightning Network, Bitcoin's scalability protocol.

Read more: What is Bitcoin’s Lightning Network?

The Lightning Network keeps payments off-chain for speed, lower costs and scalability but still uses the Bitcoin blockchain as a settlement layer. Lightning Labs, the infrastructure firm behind the protocol, introduced an upgrade in April called Taro that supports the transfer of stablecoins and other assets. A test version of Taro was released late last month.

River Lightning Services aims to make it easier for companies to access the new multi-asset functionality. Developers can integrate Lightning payments into applications with an application programming interface (API) without having to run any of the Lightning infrastructure.

“The vision behind RLS is to unlock a new era of payments for the internet by making it extremely easy for developers to integrate Lightning Network payments into their apps,” Alex Leishman, Founder and CEO of River, told CoinDesk in an email.

“The Lightning Network will support stablecoins in the near future after the initial version of the upcoming Taro protocol is released,” Leishman continued. “This will mean instant, extremely cheap, bitcoin and [U.S. dollar] payments on Lightning and RLS will make this very easy for everybody to use. RLS is doing for Lightning what Stripe did for credit cards.”

River has nearly four years of experience running Lightning Network infrastructure. The company also offers bitcoin trading and a bitcoin mining business The RLS service has been in use for over a year by Chivo, El Salvador’s somewhat troubled state-run bitcoin wallet. RLS is in the process of onboarding other customers, said Leishman.