Node Optimizations

Prepare for Channel Jamming

Communication channels are jammed, captain.
Channel Jamming happens to the best of us!

Channel jamming is the first malicious category of Lightning Network attack that we’ve heard about. You know that there’s something big brewing when the bad guy’s with a node are coming after you. Congrats! We’ve made it!

What is Channel Jamming? It’s when someone willfully withholds revealing the secret needed to complete a LN payment. Since the secret isn’t revealed, the payment is held in a temporary state and locks up liquidity that could be used for other payments.

Why would someone want to do this? You have to put up some bitcoin to start your node so there is a cost. The only reason that we can think of is PR: make the LN look bad by creating a bad customer experience.

Learn more about channel jamming by checking out this great writeup about “Preventing Channel Jamming” on BitMEX.

And here’s some possible solutions that the big brains are considering to solve the Channel Jamming issue.

Node Optimizations

Balanced Channel Lighting Network

Opening a balanced channel Lightning Network is a better foundation for lightning node success. A channel that is opened balanced has liquidity on both sides and the chance of successfully routing a transaction is doubled. This underutilized solution is more complex to setup, but you will know its possible when you see it.

If you open a channel “blindly”, i.e. with a channel that automatically accepts your request, assuming that you meet certain requirements, that channel has liquidity only on your side, not on the other node’s. So only if you are routing a transaction to or through the node on the other side of the channel will there be funds moving through your node.

However, opening a balanced channel means that there is liquidity on both sides of the channel and routing can begin in either direction, thus doubling the chances of routing transactions on the Lightning Network. Isn’t that we are all here for?

If you wait until you open a blind channel for routing to flow from you to the other side, there’s an inherent hurdle that needs to be overcome to start the engine. Here’s a great explanation of how to create a balanced channel on the Lightning Network.

If you would like to open a balanced channel with us, hit us up on Twitter or message us to connect the electric!

And if you really love this model, our friend Zero Fee Routing started a GoFundMe prize for someone to make it even easier to open a balanced channel in LND. Check out the Twitter thread for more.

Node Optimizations

Change My Lightning Node Alias

When spinning up your lightning network node, the brand you present to the market is important. The default alias for a new node is just the leading 20 positions of your public key node. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but change my lightning node alias is easy if you follow these steps!

  1. Assuming you know how to login remotely to your node, open a terminal and type ssh -t umbrel@umbrel.local for Umbrel users like us. The password is the Umbrel main password.
  2. Edit the Lightning Network Daemon (LND) config file using sudo nano umbrel/lnd/lnd.conf Again, use the main Umbrel password when prompted.
  3. In the first paragraph, add a new line of ALIAS=[Node Name] You can also optionally add a COLOR=#FFFFFF hex value to pimp your node’s appearance on third party sites. 
  4. Press Control-X to exit the editor, agreeing with the changes and not changing the file name.
  5. Exit the editor, then restart your node software for the changes to take effect.

Be aware that sites like Amboss will capture your public changes! 

Amboss Node Info Changes – Edited for size

Take a look at our process for building a lightning network node.