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BlockSpaces changes how the world sends payments

Mark Parker



Co-founder Gabe Higgins (center) and the BlockSpaces development team announced a significant milestone at the Nov. 4 Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit. Photo courtesy of Rick Tauceda.

A Tampa-based blockchain integration platform recently achieved an industry breakthrough by becoming the first to incorporate the Lightning network into Quickbooks software.

Gabe Higgins, co-founder of BlockSpaces, announced the significant milestone in merging new and legacy technologies to provide solutions and propel mass adoption at the Nov. 4 Florida Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit. The Lightning Network allows people to complete transactions with bitcoin nearly instantaneously for a fraction of credit card and wire transfer processing fees.

The network also enables companies to process millions to billions of transactions per second, with security enforced by blockchain smart contracts. While some business owners are hesitant to utilize new technologies, BlockSpaces integrated its innovative Lightning Connect product with QuickBooks, one of the most popular accounting and management software brands.

Higgins told attendees his company eliminated the stress of managing the liquidity and software necessary for integration. Users will also retain full ownership of their funds – deposited directly into their digital wallets – as Lightning Connect is also the first non-custodial cloud-based transaction solution.

“We are now establishing bitcoin as the financial payment rail for the future,” said Higgins. “And we are enabling businesses to use this as their bank.”

Gabe Higgins (right) and his team unveiled their Lightning Connect service that allows companies to use bitcoin as a payment rail. Photo by Mark Parker.

He added that accountants need not stress over the new system, as Lightning Connect tracks the cost basis for every invoice. Typical business processes remain unchanged, Higgins said, and owners can easily reconcile transactions.

Following the announcement, Higgins and co-founder Rosa Shores told the Catalyst that BlockSpaces began running Lightning nodes in April, with the goal of launching their “marquee product” at the summit.

The co-founders laughed when asked if they encountered any challenges creating the service, which is part of what Higgins called Lightning Finance, or LiFi.

“The technology is still very nascent,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of research and development happening on an ongoing basis. We’re constantly trying to refine that.”

Before the integration, explained Shores, companies that accepted cryptocurrencies had to leave the QuickBooks ecosystem, reconcile the payments and then incorporate the data back into the platform. That led to expensive and time-consuming business transactions.

Lightning Connect alleviates the need for companies to rely on third parties and, as Shores noted, manually enter line items from spreadsheets into QuickBooks. It also eliminates reliance on banking systems and wire transfers.

“There has not been anything that does an easy integration like this,” she said.

The idea for the service, relayed Shores, resulted from their desire for BlockSpaces to accept Lighting payments. The platform’s accountant, however, dismissed the concept as too much of a hassle.

As a blockchain-native company encountering those barriers, she realized the challenge would increase exponentially for other business owners hoping to adopt bitcoin as a payment rail.

“Once you have an accountant that’s going, ‘I don’t want to reconcile that,’ it’s very difficult for a business to go forward with that,” said Shores. “Even if they want to accept it like we did.”

Rosa Shores, co-founder of BlockSpaces. File Photo.

Higgins said that in conversations with business leaders, the topic almost always centered on blockchain-enabled payment solutions. He called that a “huge friction point” across all industries and said solving the problem became a natural focus for BlockSpaces.

While companies can utilize Lightning Connect to accept customer payments, Shores believes international business-to-business transactions are the most valuable application. She relayed the importance of supply chain finance and ensuring overseas vendors receive timely and secure disbursements, and Higgins noted fees are also less than cross-border wire transfers.

In addition to instant settlements and unlike credit cards, he said there is no potential for chargebacks. “And with no banks involved,” Higgins added.

BlockSpaces, said Shores, will continue incorporating multiple blockchain networks and solutions into legacy products. According to an accompanying informational document, its Lightning Connect platform integrates with NetSuite, Microsoft D365 and other enterprise resource planning systems that help organizations automate and manage core business processes.

An overarching theme of the summit was that despite a bear market and what insiders call a “crypto winter,” industry creators are still developing new, groundbreaking applications. Shores said she finds bull markets distracting after 10 years in the industry.

Higgins relayed that real innovation occurs during downturns. He called it “utility over yield.”

“We’ve never been in this space for the price,” said Shores. “That’s not why we’re here.”








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