updated & improved guide to installing LND, Bitcoind, on ...

⚡ Lightning Network Megathread ⚡

Last updated 2018-01-29
This post is a collaboration with the Bitcoin community to create a one-stop source for Lightning Network information.
There are still questions in the FAQ that are unanswered, if you know the answer and can provide a source please do so!

⚡What is the Lightning Network? ⚡


Image Explanations:

Specifications / White Papers


Lightning Network Experts on Reddit

  • starkbot - (Elizabeth Stark - Lightning Labs)
  • roasbeef - (Olaoluwa Osuntokun - Lightning Labs)
  • stile65 - (Alex Akselrod - Lightning Labs)
  • cfromknecht - (Conner Fromknecht - Lightning Labs)
  • RustyReddit - (Rusty Russell - Blockstream)
  • cdecker - (Christian Decker - Blockstream)
  • Dryja - (Tadge Dryja - Digital Currency Initiative)
  • josephpoon - (Joseph Poon)
  • fdrn - (Fabrice Drouin - ACINQ )
  • pmpadiou - (Pierre-Marie Padiou - ACINQ)

Lightning Network Experts on Twitter

  • @starkness - (Elizabeth Stark - Lightning Labs)
  • @roasbeef - (Olaoluwa Osuntokun - Lightning Labs)
  • @stile65 - (Alex Akselrod - Lightning Labs)
  • @bitconner - (Conner Fromknecht - Lightning Labs)
  • @johanth - (Johan Halseth - Lightning Labs)
  • @bvu - (Bryan Vu - Lightning Labs)
  • @rusty_twit - (Rusty Russell - Blockstream)
  • @snyke - (Christian Decker - Blockstream)
  • @JackMallers - (Jack Mallers - Zap)
  • @tdryja - (Tadge Dryja - Digital Currency Initiative)
  • @jcp - (Joseph Poon)
  • @alexbosworth - (Alex Bosworth - yalls.org)

Medium Posts

Learning Resources


Desktop Interfaces

Web Interfaces

Tutorials and resources

Lightning on Testnet

Lightning Wallets

Place a testnet transaction

Altcoin Trading using Lightning

  • ZigZag - Disclaimer You must trust ZigZag to send to Target Address

Lightning on Mainnet

Warning - Testing should be done on Testnet

Atomic Swaps

Developer Documentation and Resources

Lightning implementations

  • LND - Lightning Network Daemon (Golang)
  • eclair - A Scala implementation of the Lightning Network (Scala)
  • c-lightning - A Lightning Network implementation in C
  • lit - Lightning Network node software (Golang)
  • lightning-onion - Onion Routed Micropayments for the Lightning Network (Golang)
  • lightning-integration - Lightning Integration Testing Framework
  • ptarmigan - C++ BOLT-Compliant Lightning Network Implementation [Incomplete]


Lightning Network Visualizers/Explorers



Payment Processors

  • BTCPay - Next stable version will include Lightning Network




Slack Channel

Discord Channel


⚡ Lightning FAQs ⚡

If you can answer please PM me and include source if possible. Feel free to help keep these answers up to date and as brief but correct as possible
Is Lightning Bitcoin?
Yes. You pick a peer and after some setup, create a bitcoin transaction to fund the lightning channel; it’ll then take another transaction to close it and release your funds. You and your peer always hold a bitcoin transaction to get your funds whenever you want: just broadcast to the blockchain like normal. In other words, you and your peer create a shared account, and then use Lightning to securely negotiate who gets how much from that shared account, without waiting for the bitcoin blockchain.
Is the Lightning Network open source?
Yes, Lightning is open source. Anyone can review the code (in the same way as the bitcoin code)
Who owns and controls the Lightning Network?
Similar to the bitcoin network, no one will ever own or control the Lightning Network. The code is open source and free for anyone to download and review. Anyone can run a node and be part of the network.
I’ve heard that Lightning transactions are happening “off-chain”…Does that mean that my bitcoin will be removed from the blockchain?
No, your bitcoin will never leave the blockchain. Instead your bitcoin will be held in a multi-signature address as long as your channel stays open. When the channel is closed; the final transaction will be added to the blockchain. “Off-chain” is not a perfect term, but it is used due to the fact that the transfer of ownership is no longer reflected on the blockchain until the channel is closed.
Do I need a constant connection to run a lightning node?
Not necessarily,
Example: A and B have a channel. 1 BTC each. A sends B 0.5 BTC. B sends back 0.25 BTC. Balance should be A = 0.75, B = 1.25. If A gets disconnected, B can publish the first Tx where the balance was A = 0.5 and B = 1.5. If the node B does in fact attempt to cheat by publishing an old state (such as the A=0.5 and B=1.5 state), this cheat can then be detected on-chain and used to steal the cheaters funds, i.e., A can see the closing transaction, notice it's an old one and grab all funds in the channel (A=2, B=0). The time that A has in order to react to the cheating counterparty is given by the CheckLockTimeVerify (CLTV) in the cheating transaction, which is adjustable. So if A foresees that it'll be able to check in about once every 24 hours it'll require that the CLTV is at least that large, if it's once a week then that's fine too. You definitely do not need to be online and watching the chain 24/7, just make sure to check in once in a while before the CLTV expires. Alternatively you can outsource the watch duties, in order to keep the CLTV timeouts low. This can be achieved both with trusted third parties or untrusted ones (watchtowers). In the case of a unilateral close, e.g., you just go offline and never come back, the other endpoint will have to wait for that timeout to expire to get its funds back. So peers might not accept channels with extremely high CLTV timeouts. -- Source
What Are Lightning’s Advantages?
Tiny payments are possible: since fees are proportional to the payment amount, you can pay a fraction of a cent; accounting is even done in thousandths of a satoshi. Payments are settled instantly: the money is sent in the time it takes to cross the network to your destination and back, typically a fraction of a second.
Does Lightning require Segregated Witness?
Yes, but not in theory. You could make a poorer lightning network without it, which has higher risks when establishing channels (you might have to wait a month if things go wrong!), has limited channel lifetime, longer minimum payment expiry times on each hop, is less efficient and has less robust outsourcing. The entire spec as written today assumes segregated witness, as it solves all these problems.
Can I Send Funds From Lightning to a Normal Bitcoin Address?
No, for now. For the first version of the protocol, if you wanted to send a normal bitcoin transaction using your channel, you have to close it, send the funds, then reopen the channel (3 transactions). In future versions, you and your peer would agree to spend out of your lightning channel funds just like a normal bitcoin payment, allowing you to use your lightning wallet like a normal bitcoin wallet.
Can I Make Money Running a Lightning Node?
Not really. Anyone can set up a node, and so it’s a race to the bottom on fees. In practice, we may see the network use a nominal fee and not change very much, which only provides an incremental incentive to route on a node you’re going to use yourself, and not enough to run one merely for fees. Having clients use criteria other than fees (e.g. randomness, diversity) in route selection will also help this.
What is the release date for Lightning on Mainnet?
Lightning is already being tested on the Mainnet Twitter Link but as for a specific date, Jameson Lopp says it best
Would there be any KYC/AML issues with certain nodes?
Nope, because there is no custody ever involved. It's just like forwarding packets. -- Source
What is the delay time for the recipient of a transaction receiving confirmation?
Furthermore, the Lightning Network scales not with the transaction throughput of the underlying blockchain, but with modern data processing and latency limits - payments can be made nearly as quickly as packets can be sent. -- Source
How does the lightning network prevent centralization?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
What are Channel Factories and how do they work?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
How does the Lightning network work in simple terms?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
How are paths found in Lightning Network?
Bitcoin Stack Exchange Answer
How would the lightning network work between exchanges?
Each exchange will get to decide and need to implement the software into their system, but some ideas have been outlined here: Google Doc - Lightning Exchanges
Note that by virtue of the usual benefits of cost-less, instantaneous transactions, lightning will make arbitrage between exchanges much more efficient and thus lead to consistent pricing across exchange that adopt it. -- Source
How do lightning nodes find other lightning nodes?
Stack Exchange Answer
Does every user need to store the state of the complete Lightning Network?
According to Rusty's calculations we should be able to store 1 million nodes in about 100 MB, so that should work even for mobile phones. Beyond that we have some proposals ready to lighten the load on endpoints, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. -- Source
Would I need to download the complete state every time I open the App and make a payment?
No you'd remember the information from the last time you started the app and only sync the differences. This is not yet implemented, but it shouldn't be too hard to get a preliminary protocol working if that turns out to be a problem. -- Source
What needs to happen for the Lightning Network to be deployed and what can I do as a user to help?
Lightning is based on participants in the network running lightning node software that enables them to interact with other nodes. This does not require being a full bitcoin node, but you will have to run "lnd", "eclair", or one of the other node softwares listed above.
All lightning wallets have node software integrated into them, because that is necessary to create payment channels and conduct payments on the network, but you can also intentionally run lnd or similar for public benefit - e.g. you can hold open payment channels or channels with higher volume, than you need for your own transactions. You would be compensated in modest fees by those who transact across your node with multi-hop payments. -- Source
Is there anyway for someone who isn't a developer to meaningfully contribute?
Sure, you can help write up educational material. You can learn and read more about the tech at http://dev.lightning.community/resources. You can test the various desktop and mobile apps out there (Lightning Desktop, Zap, Eclair apps). -- Source
Do I need to be a miner to be a Lightning Network node?
No -- Source
Do I need to run a full Bitcoin node to run a lightning node?
lit doesn't depend on having your own full node -- it automatically connects to full nodes on the network. -- Source
LND uses a light client mode, so it doesn't require a full node. The name of the light client it uses is called neutrino
How does the lightning network stop "Cheating" (Someone broadcasting an old transaction)?
Upon opening a channel, the two endpoints first agree on a reserve value, below which the channel balance may not drop. This is to make sure that both endpoints always have some skin in the game as rustyreddit puts it :-)
For a cheat to become worth it, the opponent has to be absolutely sure that you cannot retaliate against him during the timeout. So he has to make sure you never ever get network connectivity during that time. Having someone else also watching for channel closures and notifying you, or releasing a canned retaliation, makes this even harder for the attacker. This is because if he misjudged you being truly offline you can retaliate by grabbing all of its funds. Spotty connections, DDoS, and similar will not provide the attacker the necessary guarantees to make cheating worthwhile. Any form of uncertainty about your online status acts as a deterrent to the other endpoint. -- Source
How many times would someone need to open and close their lightning channels?
You typically want to have more than one channel open at any given time for redundancy's sake. And we imagine open and close will probably be automated for the most part. In fact we already have a feature in LND called autopilot that can automatically open channels for a user.
Frequency will depend whether the funds are needed on-chain or more useful on LN. -- Source
Will the lightning network reduce BTC Liquidity due to "locking-up" funds in channels?
Stack Exchange Answer
Can the Lightning Network work on any other cryptocurrency? How?
Stack Exchange Answer
When setting up a Lightning Network Node are fees set for the entire node, or each channel when opened?
You don't really set up a "node" in the sense that anyone with more than one channel can automatically be a node and route payments. Fees on LN can be set by the node, and can change dynamically on the network. -- Source
Can Lightning routing fees be changed dynamically, without closing channels?
Yes but it has to be implemented in the Lightning software being used. -- Source
How can you make sure that there will be routes with large enough balances to handle transactions?
You won't have to do anything. With autopilot enabled, it'll automatically open and close channels based on the availability of the network. -- Source
How does the Lightning Network stop flooding nodes (DDoS) with micro transactions? Is this even an issue?
Stack Exchange Answer

Unanswered Questions

How do on-chain fees work when opening and closing channels? Who pays the fee?
How does the Lightning Network work for mobile users?
What are the best practices for securing a lightning node?
What is a lightning "hub"?
How does lightning handle cross chain (Atomic) swaps?

Special Thanks and Notes

  • Many links found from awesome-lightning-network github
  • Everyone who submitted a question or concern!
  • I'm continuing to format for an easier Mobile experience!
submitted by codedaway to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

How can lightning network ever scale on a planetary level if in order to use it, we need to embark everyone with an on-chain transaction?

I've tried out lightning network on the bitcoin testnet (i recommend you'd do it too!). I've tried these steps:
Ran it with this lnd config
debuglevel=info bitcoin.active=1 bitcoin.testnet=1 neutrino.active=1 neutrino.connect=btcd0.lightning.computer:18333 autopilot.active=1 
So it seems everyone would need some bitcoin and a channel open to a hub (eventually their own hub) in order to be able to use the lightning network, which otherwise works very fast. This isn't really what i expected, but it's still a major improvement. I'm really awaiting a block size increase next.
Later edit: From the bitcoin.it wiki
Lightning is block-size neutral. It requires one on-chain transaction to open a channel between a hub and a client, and one on-chain transaction to close a channel.[54] In between it can support an unlimited number of transactions between anyone on the Lightning network.
Using the numbers from the Lightning presentation[62], if people open and close a plausible two channels a year, Lightning can support about 52 million users with the current one-megabyte limit—and each user can make an unlimited number of transactions. Currently, assuming people make an average of only two Bitcoin transactions a day, basic Bitcoin can support only 288,000 users.
Presumably, if around 30 million people are using Bitcoin via Lightning so that capacity is called into question, it will not be difficult to find consensus to double the block size to two megabytes and bring user capacity up to 105 million. The same goes for later increases to 200 million (4MB), 400 million (8MB), 800 million (16MB), 1.6 billion (32 MB), 3.2 billion (64MB), and all 7 billion living humans (133MB). In each case, all Lightning network participants get unlimited transactions to the other participants.
For basic Bitcoin to scale to just 2 transactions a day for 7 billion people would require 24-gigabyte blocks.
submitted by DivineManila to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

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