I'm somewhat experienced running my own node for about an year, and I've certainly spent way more sats that got it back, but If I stop spending, I stop routing then whats the purpose of a node if isnt routing?
there's 3 kinds of nodes:
  1. Big Routers (with more than 100 channels and lots of capacity)
  2. Exchanges/Service Nodes
  3. Small router nodes (US)
The problem:
in order to route, you need to have inbound liquidity, but not from small nodes, because even if you have inbound liquidity from them, they won't have inbound liquidity from big routers (to route to you), and both of you are left with useless inbound liquidity because both of you wont be trading sats between yourselves!
To be useful, you need to acquire inbound liquidity from big routers, really, there's no other way, and when you go that road, you'll see that they are selling with a minimum of 500 PPM, some others 1750 PPM (like deezy).
This means that they are going to sell you a channel which you have to have AT LEAST 1750 PPM to all others in order to even the price you paid to them, because YOU'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO REBALANCE TO THESE BIG ROUTERS because everyone else is gonna charge higher to their direction, making it impossible to rebalance back pushing sats through them, make sense?
So, here's what usually happens:
You open some channels with small nodes through lightning plus, having sort of 50% in and out liquidity, then you open some channels with services/exchanges. Then you start seeing some sats flowing to the exchanges/services because some of the nodes you connected to have bought inbound, then you end up depleting sats on exchanges (which will never come back), and the other nodes that pushed sats through you end up with balance on your side, and if you don't make any movement your node will be dormant and you'll never route any payments anymore!
Last night I tried something new, receiving sats through lightning directly to my node from coinos, and even though I had inbound liquidity from exchanges and services my payments failed, 2 mil satoshis failed to go to my node because In order to receive those sats coinos needs to route their payment through quality routers which I dindn't have enough inbound liquidity on them, even though I have plenty of inbound liquidity through small nodes and exchanges, coinos was unable to route through them!
That being said, here's my question: Why community tends to convince you to have your own node??? What can they benefit from it? How would I help? How can a small merchant receive thorugh lightning if they need to worry about buying liquidity? It looks like big players have it all sorted out, selling channels and routing through them.
I sent a payment through my getalby channel pushing sats through walletofsatoshi and paid 3,000 ppm... How can lightning beat other shitty coins like this??
I wonder what are your thoughts about this?
Same experience here, bar you becoming a sort of money services business for your friends and family to run custodial accounts via your node, having a personal node with a few channels isn't going to get you dick.
LN is still focused on specific custodial hubs wos, wallets with LNDHubs and exchanges, the ordinary node runner will lose more sats than they make especially when learning the ropes
I think having an LN node needs to be paired with having a business that uses LN at this point, to encourage flow in both directions
Nodes definitely benefit from having a certain size. Smaller than 0.5BTC makes things hard.
As for whether it benefits "the community", it surely benefits a lot of people. It benefits the network because there are more routes for payments and more capital deployed. It benefits you because you learn more and interact with the LN in a sovereign way. It benefits those around you because, adding small softwares like LNbits, you can be the custodian of your family and friends LN wallets. Or help out merchants accept bitcoin.
I started a node more than a year ago just for exploring. After all this time, I have routed a lot of bitcoin, I have set up lightning wallets for plenty of close friends and family, I have helped businesses accept lightning in their stores and I even run an ecommerce shop that accepts LN payments straight to my own node.
It's not always easy, and some days you might feel like throwing your node to the trash bin. Yet, I think that every ounce of effort you put in the node, will eventually come back to you as a 10 times larger reward. Have a long-term horizon.
You can run a node without being a routing node.
I have to agree that overall, being a routing node if you don't have a large amount of capital is not profitable, but the question then becomes one of custody.
If you want a non-custodial lightning "account" that will work on all your devices, running a node is the only way to do it, and if it's just you zapping to and from it, channel balancing shouldn't be a problem.
Of course you can also use the non-custodial mobile wallets like Phoenix, which are a perfectly reasonable compromise if you want custody of your funds but find managing a node to be a headache. The mobile solutions will only get better too - I am looking forward to seeing if Mutiny Wallet can deliver on its grand promises (basically a full node in an app).
So basically: no, not worthwhile routing unless you can put a lot of sats in, unless it's something you just enjoy as a hobby and don't care much about how long it takes to ROI.
But the main benefit of running your own node as a small fish right now is full custody of your sats on all your devices.
I read the question as "will running a small node help the community", not "will it generate profit"
I feel exactly what you mean... But if you were a merchant, selling like 20k products per day through lightning, how do you manage all that inbound? it's almost like a tax 0.175% that you pay upfront (1750 ppm) buying inbound from routers!
there's 3 kinds of nodes:
  1. Private nodes
Does having your own lightning node help the community?
Depends of your hardware, capital in LN channels, knowledge about managing a routing node. Is not so easy as many think.
Please read my guides exactly about these aspects:
And if you really want to help the community consider running a scenario like this one:
I like having a one hop instant transfer to kraken to sell out for fiats. If there was a site like amazon with LN and one pays through it a lot it would make a lot of sense also. But you do have to have another channel somewhere to do bigger payments, and then pay for having that rebalance.
For regular payments to one address repeatedly, you get fast confirmation and since it is a spending account submarine swap to fill it up, spend to empty it out. Or a second channel with a much bigger balance than the spending one as security but also for rebalancing, you might say "recharging", since it's like an account, in a way.
I'm sure with time better ways to do things and better tools to do them will emerge but for now I'm using LN for my main money flow trunk artery, backed by a few on chain tx's each month.
Thanks for your honesty.
I agree at the moment lightning seems like it's for big players. Some nodes won't let you open a channel for less than 5m sats.
I'm also having some of the issues you mentioned, but I believe it will get better.
If you can keep these channels open for a few more years lightning technology should improve a lot. I read somewhere that AMP will allow larger amounts through smaller channels.
"Helping the community" is not a factor in my choice to run a routing node. "Because I can" is a sufficiently good reason.
I just open channels to plebs, set fees to zero, and call it a day.
I feel your pain. But I think it’s amazing we can be apart of the new payment system that can route billions or trillions of transactions in the future!
Just think it’s 2050 onchain fee market is so high that it’s only used for high value transactions. The supply of bitcoin is so low that it’s hard for the common person to buy Bitcoin and spin up a node. And lightning network is level two of 5 of the bitcoin payment stack!
In short, now is the time to learn and tinker with this technology. Sure it sucks to route not earn enough fees now but think of the long term advantages of running a lightning node. From an educational and early adopter standpoint.
Owning a node has the advantage that If you own some kind of system that earns from satoshis going and coming it surely helps you to mitigate some sats onchain (because you can open a channel directly with the service/exchange) ... But you actually don't need a full node (with all bitcoin blockchain) and 100% online to achieve that..
Simply download blixt wallet, put some sats there and open a private channel with the service you want and you're good to go!
Using LNbits as as service to family and friends it's fun, but you keep their custody (that's not very funny) because if something happens to your node (suppose you get hacked), you are held accountable for their funds (and yours)
In general, apart of being some kind of hobby (that you spend money, but you enjoy), having own node is difficult, risky and you end up spending money to maintain it:
I had 30 channels that I have lost 4 times due to UPS failing to protect the system from surge, and having to tinker with:
  • Onchain fees from all force closure (from recovery)
  • Onchain fees to open all channels again (cheaper cause you can batch open 10 at a time)
  • Onchain fees from force closing some channels
  • purchasing inbound liquidity
  • spending days with funds locked due to maurity
  • Spending days to recover funds from channels that force closing didn't work
  • Spending sats rebalancing
  • Extra Electricity having 24/7 pc on
  • Buying the risk of being hacked - If somehow someone gets access to your RTL or SSH one can spend all of your funds!
If I do the math, I turn it off... But as a hobbist I'll tackle along a little more!
Yup as a fellow hobbyist I know exactly how this feels.
It sure does
Does having your own lightning node help the community?
Basically yes. One of the best way to benefit your community is by making passive income through your LN.. Lightning nodes seek the most efficient way of executing transactions. You need to set the node’s charge low enough to become affordable for the node to be lucrative. On the other hand, the charge should be high enough that it becomes an attractive way of earning passive crypto income.
Operating a node is more like art since special attention and care are needed for every channel. Whenever you are assessing traffic flow, fees, rebalancing, and which channels to open and close, you have to consider how traffic moves and how much it costs to move that traffic by reviewing a macro view over time. How do you make passive income with these nodes?
Adjust your channels to feed the traffic efficiently. Nonetheless, until traffic flows both ways, avoid keeping a channel perfectly balanced. For instance, in case of traffic moves in one direction, as is the case on many channels, then satosh is need to be continuously pushed or pulled back to feed that traffic.
Furthermore, it is always great to review routes during rebalancing. You can find where things need to be moved for a low cost, connected to whom, and where you can create a channel linked to one of the connecting nodes to minimize fees and maximize routing potential.
Creating a Tippin.me account on social media to accept tips through the Bitcoin Lightning Network is a great way to make money using the Lightning Network. You can also some sats each time a person transacts using your payment channel by supporting the quickly growing Lightning Network.
For the video creators, Light Tube lets them publish videos in return for BTC through the Lightning Network. Users who want to see a high-definition video need to pay the set 100 satosh as fee. On the flip side, uploaders may use LN payments to redeem money earned through their videos.
How much does it cost to operate a Lightning node? Making money is not the sole motivation for running the nodes since the profit is just a few pennies per month. In general, the equipment needed to run a node costs $200 and more.