LNbits SaaS – A solution for schools projects and events
How to spin up a LNbits instance on SaaS and configure it for a school project or a festival event
Recently LNbits team worked so hard to prepare a surprise solution for all bitcoiners: a LNbits on a SaaS, instant access to a LNbits instance on a hosted server, but with full control of the whole Lnbits. Announcement here.
This LNbits SaaS will simplify the whole process of installing and managing a LNbits instance, that any non-tech user could do it in max 10 min, even without a LN node as a funding source.
As you already know, reading my previous guides, LNbits is an incredible LN software solution for many use cases. This time, I will propose a different scenario using LNbits and focused on those that want a LNBits instance for a certain time or purpose. We are going to analyse the case of:
A school – that want to use LNbits for internal organization use, specific projects, learning platform
Festival events – a festival organizer that want to offer to the participants an internal accounting system to sell various stuff inside the event (merchandising, drinks, services, fun stun pictures, instant VIP access etc)
Nowadays, many schools have an internal accounting system but is based on a fiat currency and also could not be controlled by parents, on how their children can spend their money.
Is not about being authoritarian, but about being efficient and focus the children to use their money on things that are useful and not on being able to spend on drugs, crime and external school activities. In the same time we can teach the kids about Bitcoin and LN, real life use cases and how they can manage their own wallets / finances.
Another use case, are the festivals, events, conferences, closed organizations that want to offer specific services and products to their participants/employees, during the event or inside the organization, like a bonus or reward system to be spend also internally.
There are so many applications and use cases where LNbits could be used, so please use your imagination and desire to use Bitcoin and LN and you will see how easy and fast you could setup a solution for many specific use cases. So let’s analyse these two use cases.
LNBITS SaaS – WHAT DOES IT MEANS?
SaaS – Software as a Service
LNbits SaaS – LNBits team is running a server that could spin up instantly a new LNbits instance for you, already configured with clearnet https access, hosted on a LNbits server.
Yes, the instance is custodial, but you are in full control of the instance and its funds. You could even export the database backup, if you want later to import it into another instance, that could be self hosted. SaaS and self hosted are fully compatible, using the same software code.
Think about is like a hosted Wordpress on a paid server. When you pay, you pay for hosting space, for domain name, core software already installed and no need to handle all the hassle with OS, security, backup, reliability.
The process is simple and takes just few minutes to be ready. You login to
click on “LAUNCH” – new instance. It will pop-up a screen where you can pay a LNURL invoice, and the amount of sats you pay depends on how much time you want that LNbits instance active.
After paying the LN invoice, you will see the spinning wheels for few minutes and your LNbits instance will be ready. First login is with the super admin user. You can save the bookmark if you want, but also could be accessed later from the same login SaaS page.
Yes, for the time being, we still have to bookmark users access to LNbits page, until the new adminUI will be ready.
It is recommended to use the “User manager” extension, with the super admin user, where you create the future normal users / wallets. Also is better to disable this extension for normal users, so they could not create random additional users, that you could not “see” them in your super admin UI and cannot be managed.
So go to “Manage Server” – Server and add the “user manager” extension in the “Admin extensions”. That will disable it from normal users UI (not visible).
LNbits funding sources
I will mention briefly about the funding sources for LNbits. LNbits SaaS support all the funding sources as any normal LNbits instance and these are:
1. FakeWallet – default source, which is using only as an internal source of funds and is credited automatically with 1M sats. From this source you can allocate sats to each wallet you want using the adminUI.
This is a very good option in case you want to use LNbits only in an internal / closed environment, not in public use and you want that users will “buy” those “sats credits” first and could not use them outside the event / organization.
This doesn’t mean you create a shitcoin or token, you simply create an internal use of sats, for specific use case.
2. LSP (Liquidity Service Provider) – Could be many other sources from custodial services like LNPay, OpenNode, Alby, LNTipBot and many others that can provide an API to connect with the funding source.
These are practically LN nodes that can offer you an account and you can use it with their backend LN node liquidity, without bothering to manage the LN channels and stuff like that. Yes, are custodial, but you can easily withdraw anytime the funds, many are not KYC and are trusted services that will not put in danger their reputation for a meaningless rug pull.
These are good in case you can’t run your own node, or you don’t want to use your own node, but you still want to use that LNbits instance for both types of payments (internal and external).
3. Your own LN node – these are straight forward, connecting to your own node, no matter where is located and supports all major LN implementations (LND, CLN, Éclair) and Cliché plugin for Hosted Channels.
To configure each of funding sources is very easy, just go to LNbits “manage server” section and in funding tab you will find all these options. Fill the correct details, save the settings and wait for the LNbits SaaS to restart (it will take few moments). And done, now you can start using it with your desired funding source. Also it can be changed any time with a backup one and all the users accounts will not be affected.
A. LNBITS USED IN SCHOOL
This is a special and wonderful use case! I would love to see it used in practice in many schools, where pupils could learn to build solutions and applications based on BTC/LN and LNbits as core platform.
This is a special category, because it can be used only with the "FakeWallet" as funding source. That means the users could NOT use their School LNbits accounts outside of the school. For that they would need special approval and conversion from their teachers / managers / parents.
In this way, if the parents want to load up their "school LNbits account" with some pocket money, they will be with peace of mind that the funds will not be used on external non desired "items" (alchoolic drinks, drugs, illegal stuff etc).
There's also the aspect that using a real money funding source, could have more implications and specific setups, involving LN node management and real capital in the game. With a "fakeWallet" is not really necessary and is ready straight away. Also using the LNbits SaaS option is not necessary to build around a specific domain name. If is necessary it can be built a self hosted LNbits instance, as a school project, to learn how install and manage a full LNbits session and all things that imply it.
Yes, indeed, it can be used also a parallel LNBits instance with a real funding source, in case is needed a conversion of those "internal sats" into "real life sats".
In the same time could be a powerful tool for internal use in a school, with many applications that could incentive pupils in a more commercial free market activity. In this way they will learn how to appreciate and manage money, for useful things, learn how to save money and use them only when are really necessary, create a marketplace environment etc. Applications like:
Using mobile apps like Zeus or Bluewallet with a LNbits account or using the NFC cards, loaded up by each one of users or managers. Extensions used: lndhub, boltcards, LNURL-p, LNURL-w.
Payment platform and accounting for internal meals / lunch services. Extensions used: LNDHUB, LNURL-p, LNURL-w, Offline shop, TPoS.
Snacks and drinks vending machines. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p, LNURL-w, LNURL-device, Bitcoin Switch. See more details and examples here.
Bitcoin switch machines (activate stuff, trigger actions, games). Extensions used: LNDHUB, LNURL-p, Bitcoin Switch. See more details and examples here.
Rewards sats system or even pay to “not be grounded” or “pay for own mistakes”. Teachers could reward good pupils for good behavior or special treatment with some sats, directly to their LNBits account. This could be an incentive for doing good things. But also pupils could use a dedicated amount of their sats to skip "grounded hours" or "grounded tasks". Of course this could be quite expensive, but possible. Funds collected from these "punishments" could be used as crowdfunding for school projects, going to a specific LNbits wallet.. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p.
Internal NOSTR marketplace, pupils could buy/sell stuff in an open free market, including teachers could participate. This could be ad-hoc marketplace (like a garage sale) or an online shop, using the LNbits Market extension. Each pupil could run their own stale or could be a common one, by classroom or category of stuff. Also each seller could decide if they want to split the funds for other destinations (if they want to sell old stuff to collect money for a project etc) and could use the Split extension. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p, split, nostr-market
Pay to rent/use conference rooms or renting school equipment, special resources access for special events. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p, Events tickets.
Pay for extra curriculum activities / courses / extra support. If pupils need some extra help with specific curriculums or extra activities, they could find on school webpage the support tickets page or pay to join for extra activities, excursions etc. Teachers or any other pupil could "sell" these extra services to those in need. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p, support tickets, SatsPayServer.
Streamer copilot for internal school podcast or live events. This could be a really cool application, if the school organize some kind of "school live podcast". Pupils and teachers could participate with tipping sats on the live event, that also could be used a crowdfunding option. It can also be used for "school radio station", together with DJ Livestream or Spotify Jukebox. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p, streamer copilot, split, DJ Livestream, Spotify Jukebox.
School / class TipJar for crowdfunding projects. Could be general school TipJar or classroom or ad-hoc crowdfunding project. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p, TipJar.
As you can see there are many use cases and I am sure there are more, depending on each school specific profile or habits. But LNbits could cover with many extensions, many use cases or even could be a project for IT class, to develop new LNbits extensions, based on their needs. LNbits support the independent development of new extensions, here you can see more details and examples.
B. LNBITS USED FOR AN EVENT / FESTIVAL/ CONFERENCE
If you want to use LNBits for an event or a music festival, a conference, you will have a surprise of how many options you have, all to serve the necessities of an internal accounting system, with a form of internal money (fake-sats) or even with real money (BTC/sats).
In case you want to use a separate system for selling extra stuff during the event, you can spin up a SaaS LNbits instance in just 5 min, using its default "FakeWallet" as funding source.
After the event, if users still didn't used all their Event "FakeSats", could exchange them back for real sats or give them away to organizers. The LNbits accounts will be open only during that event, could not be re-used on a future event.
Why is good to use an internal "fakeWallet" for such an event?
You don't need to depend on a LN node liquidity and you cannot know exactly how much volume of liquidity you would need. Also that imply to have such LN capital to open channels to be able to handle all the external traffic in and out.
You can avoid stuck payments using the real LN liquidity and nodes. People would use any kind of wallets, nodes, access, system and sometimes could really have bad path finding, not enough liquidity, noob users that don't know how to handle these situations. And in a such big volume of transactions you want that all to go smooth and not create confusion and frustrations.
You can control all the transactions in real time. Communication could be done with internal WiFi access for participants only, no need for extra meassures of privacy, Tor, VPN etc. All LNbits traffic is internal and you can also have at the end a good statistic of payments use, accounting for all the stuff was sold.
You can create specific split payments in case you sell consignia items from other providers and directly split the funding.
You can have a base standard event ticket price, where the user could participate in specific standard activities and only if they want to hace access to other activities / rooms would buy the entrance with those "internal credits". There are cases that maybe user want to participate only to specific activities so would not be forced to pay the whole price for all. Or maybe would decide to participate to extra activities. In this way, the tickets to the event will be more affordable to a large number of people and they will pay only for those services they really want to have them.
With a real LN funding source all these will be quite a challenge to be done. Is not impossible, but hard to achieve and mostly will end up with many frustrated users.
Is much easier that at the end of the event all the "credits" will be converted into real sats and done, everybody is happy.
Let's see some use cases for LNbits during an event:
User buy the usual event ticket and as extra features, could buy "credits" to be used internally. 1 Sat = 1 fakeSat (credit). Once they buy some credits, will have automatically a personal LNbits account, that can be accessed using the LNDHUB extension, imported into their own mobile apps like Zeus or Bluewallet, simply using the LNBits bookmark on their phone or using a LNURL NFC card preloaded with the credits from their own account. Extensions used: lndhub, LNURL-p, LNURL-w, BoltCard.
"Sell" vouchers for internal use, in exchange for real sats, for specific amounts. Or you can even print a bunch of LNURL-w vouchers and give them away as a promotion during the event. These vouchers would have those "FakeSats" to be used internally. See the specifications for LNURL-w extension, where you can find also a simple way to print in bulk many QR code vouchers at once. Users could withdraw these "credits" into their personal "event LNbits account" provided when they bought the entrance.
Pay to enter on VIP reunions / rooms / workshops / meetups
Pay to take fun / press pictures (dedicated space) with invitees or participate in VIP parties.
Buy various merchandising. Here can be used the Split extension in case are sold consignia items.
Pay for transportation to/from event to their hotel or home, event organizers will have dedicated cars for this service, so users would not depend on other external car services availability.
Event livestream broadcast. Could be used for both ways: internal and external. For internal use, on the stage screen, can be added the Streamer Copilot, with an internal QR code + specific trigerred animated action on the screen, for fun or appreciation of the speaker. It could be also linked to a Bitcoin Switch and create a a real life action: smoke, baloons flying, slaping the speaker or any other funny switch. The external viewers, could also pay to see live the event and also interact with the streamer copilot, but for these will be necessary to have a separate LNbits instance, with real funding source, so they can pay directly from their own real LN wallets. You can't have a single LNbits instance to work with two funding sources in the same time (not yet).
And many other use cases, LNBits could provide multiple functionalities with all those 30+ extensions.
I hope this mini guide will just open your mind and offer you inspiration for your events or conferences, or helping your kids in schools to learn more how to use Bitcoin and LN. Is just a simple example of how to use LNbits in real life.
We are just starting to build a new future and we have these wonderful software solutions, made with a lot of passion by amazing BTC/LN developers.
You can also participate to this open source software, with any contribution you can: building new extensions, making guides, write documentation, find bugs or issues and help developers to fix them, building additional UI and API linked to LNbits core, creating various ways to use LNbits in real life and make a wonderful experience in using Bitcoin and LN.
MAY THE ₿ITCOIN BE WITH YOU!
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