THE LIGHTNING PAGE
- 1. What is Lightning?
- 2. Using a Lightning Wallet
- 3. Pick a Lightning Wallet
- 4. Accept Lightning Payments
- 5. Helpful tools
- 6. Need help?
What is Lightning?
Simply put, lightning is a layer on-top of Bitcoin that enables extremely cheap, instant and secure off-chain transactions that can scale to millions of transactions per second.
Transactions on the lightning network cost fractions of a cent.
For the sake of comparison, all of the existing payment processors combined such as Visa and MasterCard process, on average, under 10,000 “real-world” transactions per second.
The Lightning network is only in the infancy stage of development and adoption. The ecosystem has just begun and the pace of innovation is only going to accelerating.
(1.) Bitcoin Q&A: The Lightning Network & Rootstock (Video)
(2.) The Bitcoin Lightning Network Explained – Andreas M. Antonopoulos (Video)
(3.) Lightning Network Explained Simply (Video)
(4.) Bitcoin, Lightning, and Streaming Money (Video)
(5.) https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Lightning_Network (Bitcoin wiki)
(6.) Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, Simply Explained! (Video)
There are two ways that you can transact on the lightning network today:
(a.) Setup your own lightning node (which means you will also need to setup a fully synced Bitcoin full node), then connect your lightning wallet to the lightning node that you setup. This can take some time, especially if you do not have a fully synced Bitcoin full node. Check out this super easy guide on how to set this up: Pierre Rochard’s Node Launcher Setup Guide
(b.) Download and install a standalone light client lightning wallet. A light client wallet requires no additional setup because it will automatically connect to a central lightning node hosted by the wallet company or a company that they trust. Some wallets are also custodial, which means the bitcoin on your wallet are not actually yours – instead the company holds the bitcoin.
The Gist of Transacting using a Lightning Wallet
1. Open your lightning wallet
2. On first use, you will be prompted to record and securely back-up your lightning wallet seed. You may also be prompted to create a passphrase/PIN.
3. Fund or “top-up” your lightning wallet. This is typically done by sending bitcoin to your lightning wallet via an “on-chain” bitcoin transaction.
4. Open a channel and you will be prompted for the amount of bitcoin you want to move onto the lightning network. These bitcoin will be locked up in the channel with the other node. Opening a channel can take up to an hour to complete and become usable. Once a channel is open, you can transact with each other and anyone else that has a channel connected indirectly. Close a channel and the bitcoin you locked up will be sent back to the “on-chain” Bitcoin network in your wallet.
Some wallets have a feature called “autopilot”. This will automatically open channels with other lightning nodes on the network so that you do not have to worry about opening channels.
Note: You cannot send “on-chain” bitcoin to a lightning address and you cannot send a lightning transaction to a bitcoin address. Lightning invoices a.k.a. lightning addresses expire after a certain amount of time. After expiring, funds cannot be sent to it.
(1.) Bitcoin Q&A: How do payment channels work? (Video)
(2.) What are payment channels? (eg. the Lightning Network) (Video)
(3.) Bitcoin Q&A: Running nodes and payment channels (Video)
Transacting on Lightning
Warning: Lightning is in a new technology that is still rapidly innovating. Do put excessive amounts of bitcoin onto the lightning network. Also, note: Light client wallets rely on a 3rd party central lightning node. Custodial wallet means you do not actually own your bitcoin, the company does.
(a.) ZAP Wallet + Node Launcher [Windows & MacOS] – Setting up the whole “shebang”. This guide sets up a lightning node, bitcoin full node & the ZAP lightning wallet.
(b.) Lightning Wallet [Windows, Linux, MacOS & Darwin] – Light client wallet w/ option to connect your lightning node: See instructions here.
(c.) Spark Wallet [Windows, MacOS & Linux] – light client wallet w/ option to connect to your lightning node.
(d.) ZAP Wallet [Windows, MacOS, Linux & Darwin] – Must setup & connect to a lightning node (see ZAP Wallet + Node Launcher). Otherwise, wallet will default to testnet. No light client available yet.
(e.) Peach Wallet [Windows, MacOS & Linux] – Standalone light client wallet. Privacy concerns over this wallet.
(a.) Breez [Android] , BlueWallet [iOS] – Open source & a non-custodial wallet.
(b.) Phoenix [Android] – Open source & a custodial wallet.
(c.) Bitcoin Lightning Wallet [Android] – Open source & both a bitcoin and lightning wallet in light client mode.
(d.) Eclair [Android] – Open source that can send and receive over lightning network. To receive over lightning, user must explicitly enable the feature on the wallet at the moment.
(e.) Wallet of Satoshi [Android] , Wallet of Satoshi [iOS] – Not open source & a custodial wallet
(f.) BlueWallet [Android] , BlueWallet [iOS] – Open source & a custodial wallet.
Compiled List of Mobile Wallets
Pre-Setup Plug-And-Play Hardware Devices
(g.) Casa Node
(h.) Nodl Node
(i.) Lightning in a Box
(j.) DIY Lightning on RaspberryPi
How to Accept Lightning Payments
Helpful Lightning tools and websites
1. 1ml.com – Lightning network stats on channels, nodes, etc.
2. Casa Lightning Explorer – Lightning network stats on channels, nodes, etc.
3. bitrefill.com’s Thor Service – Lightning channel-opening service for higher liquidity and dependability.
Some places that you can get help with Lightning:
YouTube & Google are your friends!
1. bitcoin.stackexchange.com – Search for questions asked already or ask a question yourself!
2. reddit.com /r/lightningnetwork/ – Search for questions asked already or ask a question yourself!
3. reddit.com /r/Bitcoin/ – Search for questions asked already or ask a question yourself!
4. lightningcommunity.slack.com/ – LND community on Slack.
5. LN Mainnet Discord
6. LightningNetwork/LND github – Reporting Lightning Network LND issues/bugs to developers.