Portuguese software engineer João Almeida has fused video games with blockchain technology to create Poketoshi – a platform designed to play Nintendo’s iconic Pokemon game on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
Poketoshi pairs the Lightning Network with the live streaming video platform Twitch to replicate the experience found through ‘Twitch Plays Pokemon.’ Twitch Plays Pokemon is a social experiment and channel on Twitch that invites users to play the classic game by typing codes into Twitch’s built-in chat room. In Poketoshi, instead of typing codes, users input commands via a Lightning-enabled virtual controller.
Each command costs 10 satoshi to input through the Lightning Network, and the payments are processed by OpenNode – a Lightning-based, merchant-focused bitcoin payment processor. One satoshi is the equivalent of one-hundred-millionth of a bitcoin.
The Lightning Network is an off-chain, second-layer scalability solution for bitcoin that aims to speed up transaction times while keeping fees low. While it appears to be merely a publicity stunt, Poketoshi does serve as a fun test of the Lightning Network’s protocol.
So why did João Almeida choose Pokemon as the game to be played on Bitcoin network? To test the Lightning Network, of course, but there could be another reason. Both the creator of Pokemon and the creator of Bitcoin share the same first name: Satoshi. Satoshi Tajiri is a Japanese video game designer who created the Pokemon franchise that has sold over 300 million copies globally. Satoshi Nakamoto is an unknown person or group that created Bitcoin, authored its whitepaper, and deployed the first ever blockchain database. It’s only fitting that you’re paying satoshi to play a game founded by Satoshi, with a currency founded by Satoshi.
You can play Poketoshi yourself at poketoshi.com.