Feel free to ask - looking forward to your questions!

Since some questions already popped up on my bio, I am going to start with these:

Welcome! I've always wondered if/how you plan on covering the costs of your node being that, as your name implies, you don't charge any fees. - @satoshisat

I cover my costs by providing liquidity on lightning for a fee. Rationale: In rational markets with low or no barrier of entry, the price for a product approaches marginal costs. The marginal costs for forwarding transactions are zero. There are only fixed costs per channel/time. This is what I charge for.

It's great to have you here! I also have questions regarding your terms. When, if ever, do you close channels? - @siggy47

I reserver the right to close incoming channels at any time, although I don't do that (of course). Currently I only close incoming channels when the channel is public (a routing channel) and the peer has been offline for more than 2 weeks consecutively (because I have to assume they're gone for good).

Paid channels stay open for at least 90 days after which I might make changes or ask for an additional fee. Hasn't happened though yet.

Here are the details (as of now): https://gist.github.com/zerofeerouting/24e23e7e33e2340fa1326646c00ca5ca

205 sats \ 1 replies \ @gs 2 Jun

How could we improve privacy on Lightning? How important is this in your opinion?

It is important.

Sender privacy is already pretty good.

Receiver privacy is not that good (since the has to know the receiver's node) but IMO not that important for businesses. For personal use there are wallets that have implemented "fake" (i.e. rotating) pubkeys per payment, or you just use one wallet for receiving funds and then move the funds away to your "real" wallet.

109 sats \ 1 replies \ @gs 2 Jun

Is it possible to run a successful routing node without being a developer?

Yes, but you have to be willing to work outside your comfort zone and learn. A lot.

123 sats \ 1 replies \ @rheedi0 2 Jun

I've seen you make a few comments on the performance of LND vs Core Lightning based on the experience you've had with scaling your node. What distinct differences/advantages/disadvantages do you see among the major implementations of Lighting? Doesn't have to be limited to those two.

LND: Easy to start, flashy, tons of tooling, huge community but a whole bunch of weird bugs and problems.

CLN: Efficient, lean, professional but steeper learning curve and very little tooling.

121 sats \ 1 replies \ @C_Otto 2 Jun

How large are the payments you see? What's the biggest payment size you see on a daily basis?

Not looking to much into my forwards actually. But I have seen more than .2 BTC moved in a channel by one forward event.

Alright! About an hour later, no new questions for a couple of minutes, I think we can call it a day!

Feel free to drop additional questions here and don't forget to follow me on twitter if you're not already doing that: https://twitter.com/zerofeerouting

Also - in case you want an inbound channel from me - head over to my website and get one: https://zerofeerouting.com/

11 sats \ 2 replies \ @0xtr 2 Jun
  1. What LN implementation do you run? (Core-LN, LND etc)
  2. What is the most annoying thing with running such a big node?
  3. Do you have any good tips/articles/tutorials re: running a routing node you want to share with the community?
  4. What hardware do you run your node on?
  5. Top 3 favourite songs you're currently listening to?
  1. CLN
  2. On-chain fees for force-closes
  3. The "Mastering Lightning" book by René, Laolu and Andreas is a good start. If you're more into web stuff, the plebnet wiki and the plebnet telegram group are a good point of entry as well
  4. AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, 128GB ECC RAM, 2 x 4TB NVMe (RAID1)
  5. Songs:

For 4, how much of your machine is actively used?

100 sats \ 1 replies \ @konigra 2 Jun

how do you maintain the channel.db? do you need to wipe it regularly with a cron job?

plz provide tutorial

I use CLN with postgresql, which makes me have zero issues with channel database or compacting (CLN compacts on the fly).

After almost three months the database is at 16GB, which is extremely reasonable considering I have more than a thousand channels and more than 10,000 forwards a day (not to mention all the remotely failed forwards).

12 sats \ 1 replies \ @kr 2 Jun

Do you see a future where people give you capital to deploy on your routing node, effectively making you a Lightning fund of sorts?

By splitting the returns with Bitcoin investors, this could help scale your operations without requiring you to add your own capital, and it could enable anyone to earn a yield on the Lightning Network.

Bonus question: Will it be possible to do this kind of arrangement in a trustless manner?

  1. Yes. This may be in the cards.

  2. No. Funds on lightning are inherently at risk due to the off-chain funds being hot by definition. There is no way to mitigate this.

301 sats \ 3 replies \ @k00b 2 Jun

I suspect you're the contrarian sort. What's something you believe about the future of Lightning that few people agree with you on?

Routing for free can be sustainable and might just be how the network evolves over time. Instead of the customer paying for being able to pay, the seller is paying for being able to receive a payment. This is especially easy to sell, since sellers are already used to being charged for payments and it will increase adoption a lot if paying on lightning was free.

Yep, as a payment provider I can tell you my customers (merchants) are super impressed when they see that 0 sat fee in their customer’s wallets. They are super price sensitive. Last time we tried with on-chain transactions we got very negative feedback when the tx fee rate spiked

This is my impression as well.

I want to push lightning adoption as far out as we can.

Two factors (besides merchant adoption) are critical for this in my opinion:

  • fast (like in < 1s fast)
  • cheap (ideally free) payments.

do you get laid more often since your node became so popular?

Contrary to the impression I might give on twitter, I am not very outspoken about running one of the largest lightning nodes in my private life.

So to answer your question: It did not have an impact on my romantic endeavours.

Good OpSec. This is the Way.

Would you follow a customer and fan of your work on Twitter? https://twitter.com/cryptoconverted is proudly using 0 fee routing to help onboard merchants in South Africa to the Lightning network.

Sure, followed! But don't you dare start shitcoining.

Hah good to have people keeping me honest. Also, thank you, much appreciated. Looking forward to this adventure. Will send you updates as we make progress.

Thank you for answering my question. Second question: the ratio of fee you charge to liquidity you provide is very low. In other words, just to make a few tens of thousands of sats you tie up millions of sats. How are you able to sustain this? Seems like you would need a very large initial investment for very small profits or am I missing something? Appreciate the time and detailed responses!

I charge about .5% of the liquidity and guarantee to keep the channel open for 90 days. This gives me about 2% return on investment a year.

The market is currently evolving - everybody is testing out what makes sense and how the demand is structured. I do the same.

And yes - this undertaking is capital intensive.

2% low-risk growth in Bitcoin is pretty good despite what some might have you believe. Especially since it contributes to making BTC itself more useful and valuable. The risks here are actually much lower than lending your BTC to someone offering 5%+ yield

Yes absolutely. But the risk is not zero.

If you ignore any consensus level risks on the base layer, then the associated risks are closely coupled to your own competence. The better you become at providing your service, the lower your risk. Or do you know of any practical risks that are fully outside your control?

10 sats \ 6 replies \ @Eminem 2 Jun

What lightning tools do you think are needed in general?

Totally depends on what you're trying to achieve:

Casual payments: Breez wallet (iOS/Android) does a perfect job for the casual non-technical user.

Self-Sovereignty (some technical expertise required): Set up a Raspiblitz and use Zeus Wallet.

Routing Node: I only use a vanilla CLN node and a vanilla bitcoind and some handwritten scripts.

Would love to know more about the handwritten scripts? Just trying to see what would be missing for someone who runs their node the way you do.

Not something very special.

  1. I run a script every minute adjusting max_htlc to avoid routing failures.
  2. I run a script every minute to open channels that have been paid to my BTCPay server
  3. I run a script that force-closes any channels BitPay may open to me

Haha @ 3

They had it coming.

Have they tried a lot? Are they learning? :)

1 sats \ 1 replies \ @k00b 2 Jun

What's the most surprising thing you've learned becoming a popular routing node?

Although I was aware of this beforehand on-chain fees are really an issue - especially if you attract tons of smaller channels.

1 sats \ 1 replies \ @k00b 2 Jun

Don't doxx yourself, but what's your day job?

Full stack developer.

How do you see the future of Lightning?

  1. Top down: Big institutions connect and sovereign users are a minority network around/between them like e.g. social media turned out
  2. Bottom up: As a grassroots movement like e.g. Tor turned out

Probably both at the same time.

what will lightning do to the world?

It will completely turn the world of payments on its head and further hyperbitcoinization.

It's going to be exciting as fuck.

Do you feel save putting sats in lightning or do you still think there could be a critical vulnerability in the lightning implementations? How much % of a stack would you consider responsible?

How did you get started as Dev, study CS or self thought? Any tips for someone in their early 20s trying to get into Developing?

0 sats \ 0 replies \ @Lux 3 Jun

How do you manage inbound vs outbound liquidity?

Wen hosted channels?

1.Where should I open my first channel, i've played around with Flow on voltage, now i'm attempting a triangle on lightning network plus. I would love to become a routing node, or at least gain knowledge in regards to liquidity management.

  1. What do you think about Ln bits on Voltage now, they have some great tools.
  1. LN+ is an excellent way to start up. Just make sure you're really willing to commit to the duration of the swap. It's really easy to lose credibility in this space if you close channels that you've committed to keep open.
  2. Didn't know about that but I think LNBits is a great software and Voltage offers an excellent service.

After chain fees, how much coin have you lost in this endeavor?

Do you get reimbursed for subsidizing attacks on the network?

In May I've made somewhere between 2.5M and 3M providing liquidity to the lightning network.

Neither do I attack the network, nor do I subsidize attacks, nor do I get paid by anyone but the node operators buying inbound liquidity from me.

What are your thoughts, if any, on Rene Pickhardt's work/Pickhardt Payments?

Haven't done a Pickhardt Payment myself yet, but it seems to be a real quantum leap for lightning payments.

Not the best of news for small routing nodes though, since PP prefer larger channels (due to their higher probability of being able to route a payment).

Recommendations for where to start as a complete lightning noobie, if I want to start with setting up a lightning node and am interested in eventually maybe starting a routing node?

Resources, what to read/watch etc, tips?

As mentioned in another response:

The "Mastering Lightning" book by René, Laolu and Andreas is a good start. If you're more into web stuff, the plebnet wiki and the plebnet telegram group are a good point of entry as well.

Rene Pickhardt's videos on youtube are very informative as well.

As a lightning centered podcast, I can strongly recommend "The Kevin Rooke Show", you should give him a follow on twitter: https://twitter.com/kerooke


I definitely follow Kevin Rooke and listen to every single podcast! I will look into the other recommendations.


Thanks for doing an AMA! Do you have any thoughts about the ideal sort of yield a node operator of your size should receive?

Honestly - every business tries to optimize their return on investment. Mine is currently .5 - 2 % (not including my time and the cost for the operation).

So - we will see.

what do you think of LND? are they gonna shitcoin or not? lmao

I can't comment on that at all. I haven't looked at Taro in the slightest, did not seem worthy of my time.

  1. why are your ballz so massive bro, thnx for your service.
  2. aren’t you completely destroying ‘free fee market’ by providing your service for free? will you ever change to ‘onesatfeerouting’
  1. You're very welcome.
  2. I don't think so. In unencumbered markets the price of a good will approach marginal costs, which are zero anyways.
  3. I am not at all planning on changing my fee structure