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Author Topic: My experience with running a lightning network channel  (Read 198 times)
jackg
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February 09, 2019, 12:04:03 AM
Merited by suchmoon (4), OgNasty (1), pooya87 (1), khaled0111 (1), o_e_l_e_o (1), DdmrDdmr (1), Pepe Lapiu (1)
 #1

The forum seems slightly lacking in interesting content at the moment and I'm thinking of writing down my thoughts on using the lightning network to see if anyone has anything to contribute to them or if they've used it in a fairly interesting way (or even if they've just used it).

I funded a channel with 0.01 btc on the bitcoin lightning wallet and started using it on the site https://lightning-roulette.com essentially just to try burning some funds to test it and I was quite happy with the results. The transactions cleared through within about a second after sending them (probably even less than that time).

The invoicing system is quote quirky but it's still quite nice and I assume a lot of websites have an "open in app" the issue I had was with the bitcoin wallet was that there isn't one just for receiving but I think that's because they want to keep the network going with more nodes to connect to it... The bitcoin lightning wallet on android requires you to spend a certain amount that you can't receive that much back.

If anyone would like to test out sending lightning payments we can do a mutual test as I'm quite interested in the technology and there isn't much out there avaliable that isn't gambling atm, although 1 Satoshi in roulette (or more) is quite cheap.

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Pepe Lapiu
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February 09, 2019, 12:54:47 AM
 #2

I have a BRD wallet with about 0.0011 BTC (around 4$) in it.
I'm going to mine soon to increase that a bit.
Never the less, I can open a lightning channel and give it a try. I'm curious.
I would like to find out more about the LN network.
Which android wallet are you using?
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February 09, 2019, 01:45:34 AM
 #3

It's called
Bitcoin lightning wallet
You have to pay a fee to open and close a channel though but other than that its quite cool...

The app and its details can be found here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lightning.walletapp

You may want to wait until you have more bitcoin accumulated since its impossible to open a channel without a minimum of 300000 Satoshi (0.003 bitcoin). That isn't the minimum amount to spend, but it is the minimum you need to open a channel.

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February 09, 2019, 09:36:06 AM
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It's been a many months since I lasted played around with lightning, and from what I understand the new apps and wallets which have been released are making it much easier. I'd be interested to hear your experiences with that Android wallet you linked to. I've got some time off work in a few weeks - I had planned to spend a day or two playing with lightning some more, and checking out some of these new wallets. If I do get things up and running, I'll drop you a PM and we can maybe do a couple of test transactions.

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February 09, 2019, 02:35:31 PM
 #5

They're quite good the apps. Just a few issues.

Bitcoin lightning wallet:
They backup your channels "state" to their own servers so you have to pay 1000 Satoshi for every 50.
You can't receive more than 2% of what you've ever sent.

With the éclair wallet:
You can only send and not receive and I haven't tested that much again yet because it didn't really interest me...

The apps are good for walking into a store and buying something as it's fast but it isn't very practical if you're trading or something without a node.


Did you find any desktop apps that don't need a full sync of the blockchain of bitcoin to run?

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February 09, 2019, 09:48:03 PM
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I don't get it. So I have a few questions before I open an LN channel.

 If I open a channel and I commit 1 BTC to it, does that mean the maximum amount I can send are receive is 1 BTC? Or does that mean I can send and receive several 1 BTC (or less) payments?
Quote
They backup your channels "state" to their own servers so you have to pay 1000 Satoshi for every 50.
You pay 1000 Satoshies for every 50 what? For every 50 channels you back up on their servers? For every 50 Bitcoin you send/receive? When I tried to open a channel, the Bitcoin wallet informed me that I would be buying 50 storage tokens for the price of 1000 Satoshies. I'm not sure what a storage token does.
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You can't receive more than 2% of what you've ever sent.
So if I try to send you 2 BTC on the LN network, the payment will be rejected unless you've previously sent 100 BTC through LN?
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February 09, 2019, 11:04:10 PM
 #7

So because its the android app and not an official node. You're limited to only receiving 2% less than what you send..

If you send me 1BTC I can only send you. 0.98BTC with the app apparently unless you edit the source code but I'm not sure if that's possible.

You pay for 50 tokens, I think. It means, every time you send something you take up a token as it stores the information on their s server.

And to the last bit, yes but only on the app. On a full ln node there is non of this. Limitation.

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February 09, 2019, 11:23:47 PM
Merited by Foxpup (3), o_e_l_e_o (1)
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I don't get it. So I have a few questions before I open an LN channel.

If I open a channel and I commit 1 BTC to it, does that mean the maximum amount I can send are receive is 1 BTC? Or does that mean I can send and receive several 1 BTC (or less) payments?

Lightning uses bidirectional channels -- there are two parties per channel. The capacity limit for each channel is the sum total committed by both parties. If two people commit 0.5 BTC to a channel, the total capacity of the channel is 1 BTC -- that's the total that can be settled when the channel is closed. Neither of you can settle the channel with more BTC than the two of you put in. Any more than that and you'd be creating bitcoins out of thin air. The Bitcoin protocol doesn't like that. Tongue

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February 10, 2019, 02:51:54 AM
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I don't get it. So I have a few questions before I open an LN channel.

If I open a channel and I commit 1 BTC to it, does that mean the maximum amount I can send are receive is 1 BTC? Or does that mean I can send and receive several 1 BTC (or less) payments?

Lightning uses bidirectional channels -- there are two parties per channel. The capacity limit for each channel is the sum total committed by both parties. If two people commit 0.5 BTC to a channel, the total capacity of the channel is 1 BTC -- that's the total that can be settled when the channel is closed. Neither of you can settle the channel with more BTC than the two of you put in. Any more than that and you'd be creating bitcoins out of thin air. The Bitcoin protocol doesn't like that. Tongue
Okay. So imagine Bob and Paul open a channel and each of them commit 1 BTC to the channel. Than Bob and Peter also open a channel and they both commit 2 BTC to their channel.
So I understand that Peter and Paul can send coin to each other via Bob as the middle guy, so to speak. As I understand Peter can only send 1 BTC to Paul because the Paul/Bob channel only has 1 BTC each commited. Is this correct?
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February 10, 2019, 03:05:31 AM
 #10

Here's an other new question.
Let's say Paul wants to send 10 BTC to Bob via LN. But he wants to send only 1 BTC per day for 10 days.
Can Paul and Bob open a channel where Paul commits 10 BTC and Bob commits 100 Satoshies? Or does Bob also have to commit 10 BTC in order to receive 10 BTC?

BTW, anyone wanting to send me 10 BTC just for fun is welcome to it.  Grin
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February 10, 2019, 01:18:48 PM
 #11

Here's an other new question.
Let's say Paul wants to send 10 BTC to Bob via LN. But he wants to send only 1 BTC per day for 10 days.
Can Paul and Bob open a channel where Paul commits 10 BTC and Bob commits 100 Satoshies? Or does Bob also have to commit 10 BTC in order to receive 10 BTC?

BTW, anyone wanting to send me 10 BTC just for fun is welcome to it.  Grin

Channels are often one sided (unless they're not). If you open a channel and commit 10 btc, you still own that btc. I'd advise you open a channel and test this out though. If you open a channel with 10btc you can get it back at the end (after tx fees).

I have a channel with 4mbtc for example, I put in 0.01btc the server put in nothing...

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February 10, 2019, 05:56:43 PM
 #12

Here's an other new question.
Let's say Paul wants to send 10 BTC to Bob via LN. But he wants to send only 1 BTC per day for 10 days.
Can Paul and Bob open a channel where Paul commits 10 BTC and Bob commits 100 Satoshies? Or does Bob also have to commit 10 BTC in order to receive 10 BTC?

BTW, anyone wanting to send me 10 BTC just for fun is welcome to it.  Grin

Channels are often one sided (unless they're not). If you open a channel and commit 10 btc, you still own that btc. I'd advise you open a channel and test this out though. If you open a channel with 10btc you can get it back at the end (after tx fees).

I have a channel with 4mbtc for example, I put in 0.01btc the server put in nothing...
Okay, thank you.
So imagine I have 10 BTC. And I want to promote and expand the LN network. So I open 10 different channels with 1 BTC each with 10 different people. I don't actually use any of these channels.  I just leave them there to allow others to use them within the network. So that way, these other 10 people can spur payments at each other via my node.

So the Bitcoin wallet backs up my channels on the cloud for when I go offline. And so I go offline and I store my Bitcoin in cold storage. No sweat, the channels are all backed up in the cloud, right?

Is my coin still as safe as if it were all in cold storage? Or is there a risk of loosing it to the cloud?
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February 10, 2019, 10:28:54 PM
 #13

So imagine I have 10 BTC. And I want to promote and expand the LN network. So I open 10 different channels with 1 BTC each with 10 different people. I don't actually use any of these channels.  I just leave them there to allow others to use them within the network. So that way, these other 10 people can spur payments at each other via my node.

So the Bitcoin wallet backs up my channels on the cloud for when I go offline. And so I go offline and I store my Bitcoin in cold storage. No sweat, the channels are all backed up in the cloud, right?

Is my coin still as safe as if it were all in cold storage? Or is there a risk of loosing it to the cloud?

To keep your channels open, you'd want to remain online, or at least come online periodically to make sure no one tries to steal your coins by broadcasting an old channel state. Otherwise you'd want to hire a watchtower service to handle this for you. You can't really "back up" your channels and go offline.

With Lightning, your private keys are always online. It's always safer to keep your coins in cold storage. I would only use a limited amount in payment channels, an amount I were willing to lose -- same as an online desktop or mobile wallet.

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February 18, 2019, 02:19:54 AM
 #14

Well, I've been testing some lightning wallets together with jackg.
I did learn a great deal. LN is not what I imagined it to be.

But I'm really confused here.

LN works a little bit like a glass of beer. You open a channel and you decide how big your glass of beer will be. You can only open a channel with a full glass.

So you open a channel with 10 BTC. That's basically a 10 BTC glass of beer. You can't accept any payments from  anyone else because your glass is full. So you have to spend some. If you send 5 BTC, you basically have a half full glass, so you may now accept payments for 5 BTC.

This is great if you are a customer buying things as you will likely send more payments than you receive. But what if you are a merchant taking more payments from customers? You perpetually have to keep spending just to keep some room to accept payments. You never get to earn anything bile cause you perpetually have to spend as fast as you can receive.

I just don't get how this would work well for a merchant.
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February 18, 2019, 10:23:05 AM
 #15

I think that last bit is more of a constraint of the app and not of an actual lightning node.

It's an incentive to host your own node and not a spv one to propagate the network better and it is more secure.

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