Lightning Labs, the company behind Bitcoin’s Layer 2 Lightning Network, released a new set of tools that will enable AI interfaces like ChatGPT to send, receive and hold Bitcoin. 

Olaoluwa Osuntokun, the cofounder and CTO of Lightning Labs, explained that the rise of AI has led to many websites restricting their APIs in an effort to fend off web scraping bots that source information from their websites and lower their ability to monetize platforms.

“Restricting the web only serves to degrade the experience for both bots and humans alike,” said Osuntokun, pointing to Lightning’s L402 protocol as the solution to the conundrum. 

“L402 leverages the existing HTTP 402 Payment Required status code to create a programmatic way to pay for content on the Web, using the Internet’s native currency: Bitcoin.” 

The suite of tools are built on L402 and Langchain, a framework built around Large Language Models or LLMS that are supervised learning algorithms used in the creation of chatbots and generative question-answering models.

One of the reasons behind building a way for AI to converge with Lightning is the fact that these “AI agents” or bots haven’t been able to gain access to fiat systems of payment, given the fact that they aren’t registered entities in any particular nation. Even so, these agents still need to pay for resources taken from paid sources of data.

The Lightning team believes that given these factors, AI bots will ultimately gravitate towards a global, permissionless monetary system in Bitcoin and Lightning rather than the traditional fiat system which cannot support these types of payments.