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Can you earn $300 a year to run a Lightning Network node?

Alex Bosworth, the Lightning infrastructure lead at Lightning Labs, has said that he is making $25 a month from routing $10,000 worth of Lightning payments through his node

Alex Bosworth, the Lightning infrastructure lead at Lightning Labs, has said he was “pleasantly surprised” to discover he is making $25 a month from routing $10,000 worth of Lightning payments through his Lightning node.

The Lightning Labs engineer tweeted that he didn’t “have any idea what these transactions are related to. I’m getting paid 0.25% for routing. It’s all happening way faster than I expected.”

You can now buy a Lightning node directly from the Casa project for $300. Or you can fully assemble your own version (for a lot less) after the company made their code open source.

Based on the potential fees gained from routing transactions, the node could fully pay for itself in well under a year.

It’s going to be a ‘record-breaking’ network for a while

The Lightning Network recently surpassed 700 Bitcoin (BTC) in network capacity. The new record capacity of over $2.5 million was reached after the network grew close to 30% in the last 30 days.

The network that has been operating as layer 2  ‘payment scaling’ solution between the highly interoprable Bitcoin and Litecoin blockchains that peg value in and out of network nodes and subsequent payment channels.

The Lightning project started out as a proposed implementation of hashed timelock contracts. It was originally developed under a white paper written by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja in 2015.

The network is designed to allow participants to transfer money to each other without having to make all their transactions public on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Penalising uncooperative participants

As it stands today, the Lightning Network is one of the biggest deployments of a multi-party smart contract in the world. It achieves this by using Bitcoin’s built-in scripting language to lock BTC in and out of Lightning channels across the network.

The network also penalises uncooperative participants through time-based script extensions like CheckSequenceVerify and CheckLockTimeVerify.

As well as the increase in capacity, we have seen a number of new Lightning wallets released or upgraded since the start of the year. One of these is the popular BlueWallet, who recently announced a way to make their iOS and Android Lightning wallet fully custodial. This feature can be activated by setting up an LNDhub that is linked to your own Lightning node to “create your own open source bank.”

 

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