Announcing lnd v0.8.0-beta!

Neutrino
The Lightning Conference in Berlin is just around the corner, and to make things a little more exciting for conference attendees (and for everyone else, really), today we’re announcing the release of lnd v0.8.0-beta! With more users and more businesses joining the growing Network every day, in lnd v0.8.0-beta we’ve focused on additional safety features, improved routing, and more complete support for lnd-based apps and wallets targeted at mobile devices. As always, there were numerous smaller improvements and bug fixes by many contributors along the way as well.

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Staying Safe from the Recent Lightning Vulnerability

by Olaoluwa Osuntokun and Conner Fromknecht

A vulnerability affecting many major Lightning implementations was fully disclosed today after a partial disclosure on August 30th. For a more detailed description of how CVE-2019-12998, CVE-2019-12999, and CVE-2019-13000 affect their respective implementations, please refer to the lightning-dev mailing list.

If you run an lnd node, or have an application that runs lnd which isn’t already on version v0.7.1-beta, then we very strongly recommend you update in order to prevent loss of funds. Exploiting the vulnerability requires modifying a version of lnd. We have created tools one can use to check if your lnd node was targeted.

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The Node Operator's Guide to the Lightning Galaxy, Part 1

by Bryan Vu

As the Lightning Network has grown and we’ve worked with many community members who have been running Lightning routing nodes, we’ve been wanting to provide more information about our ideas and experiences running routing nodes. We hope that this Routing Node Guide blog post series will help those who are interested in running routing nodes do so more easily and effectively, with less trial and error. Hopefully, having this information available in a more consumable form will also help the community evolve the state of the art in Lightning Network routing. The first part of this series will give a high level overview of routing requirements as well as a walkthrough of some of the basic lnd options and parameters and how they apply to routing node operators. Subsequent posts will discuss some of the underlying principles of Lightning routing, creating and managing channels, securing nodes, and monitoring nodes. We’ll also cover some common troubleshooting issues and future directions in routing.

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Introducing lndmon: Dockerized Lightning Network Monitoring

by Valentine Wallace

Today we’re excited to announce the first alpha release of lndmon: a drop-in, dockerized monitoring solution for lnd. As the network has grown over the past year, we’ve noticed gaps in its observability and the need for an easy-to-use tool for routing node operators to manage their nodes. This year, lack of such a suitable tool caused certain problems in the peer-to-peer network to remain undiscovered until they became harmful. lndmon (which works with lnd 0.7 and beyond, thanks in part to the new feature of exporting gRPC performance data) helps prevent problems by enabling users to monitor trends and take preventative action. For example, a routing node operator may want to be notified if multiple channels are closed in rapid succession or if their peer connections show signs of instability.

Besides preventing network trouble, lndmon is a flexible monitoring tool for routing node operators and other users who want to track how their channels change over time. Users can also monitor network-wide trends, such as growth in the number of channels and where the best routing fee rates can be found.

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Announcing lnd v0.7-beta!

Neutrino
The first half of 2019 has been an exciting time for Lightning and for Bitcoin, and in those first six months, we at Lightning Labs are excited to have released Lightning Loop, lnd v0.6-beta, our desktop Lightning App for Linux, OSX and Windows, our mobile Lightning App for Android and iOS, as well as Loop In! To begin the second half of 2019, today we’re announcing the release of lnd v0.7-beta. lnd v0.7-beta includes many improvements, most notably Watchtowers, more accurate payment tracking, more on-chain fee control, and more efficient routing. A few of the highlights are outlined below, but you can read the full release notes for further details.

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Closing the Lightning Loop: Announcing Loop In

by Alex Bosworth

In March, we at Lightning Labs announced Lightning Loop, which provides an on-demand non-custodial service to help manage Lightning channels. Our first release, Loop Out, was designed to make it easier to receive Lightning payments, particularly for those selling goods and services via Lightning. Today, we’re making Lightning Loop bi-directional with the addition of Loop In.

Loop In is designed to make it cheaper, faster and easier to refill Lightning wallets. For those users who have been spending their Lightning funds on things like pizza, chicken feeding, clock messages, mobile phone minutes, or the latest news, sadly, a time will come when a Lightning wallet will run out of money. At that point, Lightning users can close the empty channel and open a new channel (“channel churn”), or they keep their channel open and use Loop In!

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Our Lightning Mobile App for iOS & Android Is Now on Mainnet!

by Tankred Hase

We couldn’t be more excited to announce a major release today. Our Lightning App is now available on Bitcoin mainnet in alpha for iOS (on Testflight) and Android (on Google Play), making it the first mainnet app on all major mobile and desktop platforms. We recently launched our Lightning App on desktop and with this new release our Lightning App is now available on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux.

iOS App Home Screen
Android App Receive Screen

A User Experience for Everyone

We’ve designed the mobile app to be approachable for a wide range of users. That’s why we began with a clean user interface and a goal to hide complexity and make the app more accessible to new users. We understand that there are still many challenges to overcome in the Lightning user experience today. However, we believe starting simple is an important first step as we learn more about each challenge and add new features thoughtfully.

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Our Lightning Desktop App Is Now on Mainnet!

by Tankred Hase and Valentine Wallace

Today we’re excited to announce the first alpha release of the Lightning App for desktop on Bitcoin mainnet. This is still an early version targeted at testers, but it will give advanced users and developers a chance to start experimenting with a Lightning UX where users control their own funds powered by our Neutrino light client technology.

This desktop release supports macOS, Windows, and Linux. It also represents an important stepping stone towards mobile while we continue to invest in performance and stability. We’re working as quickly as we can to get our mainnet iOS and Android apps out soon.

App Home Screen

Driving this release is a complete commitment to scaling the principles that Bitcoin was built on: privacy, security, and self-determination. For that we need to go beyond custodial solutions and enthusiast guides and deliver a great user experience for everyone. Scaling Bitcoin and Lightning to everyone means not requiring people to follow complex setup processes or hand over control of their funds to trusted counterparties. For everyone to truly explore what is possible with the Lightning Network, we needed to build a wallet that knocks down these barriers-to-entry and demonstrates what is possible when technology fights for the user.

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Announcing lnd v0.6-beta!

Neutrino
Today, we’re excited to announce the latest release of lnd, v0.6-beta! Many items in this release were developed in response to the community feedback we’ve gotten since v0.5-beta and also in response to what we’ve learned as we’ve observed the tremendous growth in the Lightning Network over the last several months.

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Loop Out In-depth

by Joost Jager

In a previous blog post we announced Loop Out, a non-custodial service to obtain inbound liquidity by offloading funds to a regular on-chain address. This post goes deeper into some of the technical details of Loop Out and assumes knowledge of Bitcoin, Lightning and hash locked contracts.

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Announcing Lightning Loop Alpha: An Easier Way to Receive on Lightning

by Alex Bosworth and Bryan Vu

Today we’re excited to announce the initial release of Lightning Loop, a non-custodial service that makes it easier for people to receive funds on Lightning. As we’ve watched the network and the number of Lightning applications grow over the past year, many users have told us they were interested in a solution to help with receiving on Lightning. We’ve also seen more and more use cases, from earning satoshis on microwork sites, to selling goods with Lightning, to sending peer-to-peer payments around the world, where the ability to receive is key.

Lightning channels are like tubes of money: the more you send the more you can receive, and the other way around. Money moves around in the tube, but the total amount of funds remains constant. So, unlike other payment systems, Lightning requires “inbound capacity” in order to receive funds.

This initial release focuses on on the ability for people to receive with what we call Loop Out. Lightning Loop Out allows users to increase their receiving capacity by offloading their funds from the network while keeping channels open.

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Lightning App Security & Architecture

by Tankred Hase

In a recent post we covered the new Lightning App from a UX perspective. In this post we’ll dig deeper into its software architecture with a focus on security and threat modeling.

Electron Architecture

(Source: www.smashingmagazine.com/2017/03/beyond-browser-web-desktop-apps/)

App Architecture

As depicted above, the desktop application is based on Electron. Electron allows cross-platform desktop applications to be developed from a single code base for Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s based on the Chromium project from Google and is being developed by GitHub.

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Neutrino: The Lighter Side of Lightning

by Bryan Vu

alice Our previous two posts in this series have been about Carol, a future Lightning user. For this post, we’ll be traveling back to the present, where Alice lives with substandard mobile Bitcoin apps. In Alice’s world, smartphones have been the predominant global computing platform for years, but the current generation of Bitcoin apps leave a lot to be desired. The options she’s tried have had major flaws in security, privacy, and/or ease-of-use.

Several of today’s top mobile Bitcoin wallets are built on centralized services that present significant security risks. As a wise man said more than once: “Not your keys, not your Bitcoin.” Centralized services also risk exposure of users’ financial information (i.e. transaction histories). On the other hand, centralized services are faster, easier to use, and work for new users with small amounts of bitcoin. As a long-time, experienced bitcoiner, Alice has quite a few friends who have lost money with centralized services, so she decides to continue on her quest for a wallet that gives her full control of her bitcoins.

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Announcing lnd v0.5-beta!

Neutrino
Today, we’re excited to announce the latest release of lnd, v0.5-beta! The key focus for this release was to enable end-user apps (aka “light clients”) with a BIP 157/158-compliant implementation of the Neutrino protocol. In addition, we’ve made major improvements in safety and security of user funds, along with features that lay the groundwork for the next release of lnd, which will focus on routing nodes. We’ve also added another Tor privacy option, and as always, we’ve made numerous improvements to optimize performance and increase reliability. A few of the highlights are listed below, and for the full details, please see the release notes.

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The New Lightning App

by Tankred Hase

Today we’re excited to announce the release of the new version of our Lightning desktop app. This release includes a complete redesign and optimized backend targeted toward light clients.

App Home Screen

In a recent post we covered Lightning UX from a high level perspective and discussed which components and infrastructure would be required for a Lightning Network that is not only reliable but also usable by average users. In this post, we’ll highlight one crucial component of that puzzle, namely the Lightning App, which is our user-facing wallet application.

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