This week’s newsletter describes a protocol for simplifying the communication related to mutual closing of LN channels and summarizes notes from a recent meeting of LN developers. Also included are our regular sections with popular questions and answers from the Bitcoin Stack Exchange, announcements of new releases and release candidates, and descriptions of notable changes to popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects.


  • Simplified LN closing protocol: Rusty Russell posted to the Lightning-Dev mailing list a proposal that simplifies the process of two LN nodes mutually closing a channel they share. With the new closing protocol, one of the nodes tells its peer that it wants to close the channel and indicates the amount of transaction fee it will pay. That closing initiator will be responsible for the entire fee, although both outputs of a typical mutual close transaction will be immediately spendable so either party will be able to use CPFP fee bumping in the normal case. The new protocol is also compatible with exchanging information for MuSig2-based scriptless multisignatures, which are part of in-development upgrades to LN that will increase privacy and lower onchain fee costs.

    No comments on Russell’s proposal had been posted to the mailing list as of this writing but some initial comments had been posted to his pull request with the complete proposal.

  • LN Summit notes: Carla Kirk-Cohen posted to the Lightning-Dev mailing list a summary of several discussions from the recent meeting of LN developers in New York City. Some of the topics discussed included:

    • Reliable transaction confirmation: package relay, v3 transaction relay, ephemeral anchors, cluster mempool, and other topics related to transaction relay and mining were discussed in the context of how they will provide a clearer path to allowing LN onchain transactions confirm more reliably, without the threat of transaction pinning or needing to overpay fees when using CPFP or RBF fee bumping. We strongly recommend readers with an interest in transaction relay policy, which affects almost all second-layer protocols, read the notes for the insightful feedback provided by LN developers on several ongoing initiatives.

    • Taproot and MuSig2 channels: a brief discussion about the progress of channels that use P2TR outputs and MuSig2 for signatures. A significant portion of the notes for this discussion was about a simplified mutual close protocol; see the previous news item for one of the results of that discussion.

    • Updated channel announcements: the LN gossip protocol currently only relays announcements of new or updated channels if those channels were funded using a P2WSH output that committed to a 2-of-2 OP_CHECKMULTISIG script. For moving to P2TR outputs with MuSig2-based scriptless multisignature commitments, the gossip protocol will need to be updated. A topic also discussed during the previous in-person meeting of LN developers (see Newsletter #204) has been whether to make a minimal update to the protocol (called v1.5 gossip) that just adds support for P2TR outputs or a more general update to the protocol (called v2.0) that more broadly allows a valid signature for any UTXO of any type to be used for announcements. Allowing any output to be used means that the output used to announce the channel is less likely than it is today to be the output actually being used to operate the channel, breaking the public link between outputs and channel funding.

      An additional consideration discussed was whether a UTXO with a value of n should be allowed to announce a channel with a capacity greater than n. This could allow channel participants to keep some of their funding transactions private. For example, Alice and Bob could open two separate channels with each other; they could use one channel to create an announcement for greater than the value of the channel, making it clear that they could forward LN payments greater than the capacity of that channel using their other channel which had not been associated with a UTXO and so were more private. This would help increase the plausibility that any output on the network, even one that had never been gossiped about in LN, was being used for an LN channel.

      The notes indicate a compromise decision, “v1.75 gossip”, which seemed to allow using any script but with no available value multiplier.

    • PTLCs and redundant overpayment: from the notes, adding support for PTLCs to the protocol was briefly discussed, mostly in relation to signature adaptors. More text in the notes was devoted to an improvement that would affect similar parts of the protocol: the ability to redundantly overpay an invoice and receive a refund for most or all of the overpayment. For example, Alice wants to ultimately pay Bob 1 BTC. She initially sends Bob 20 multipath payments each worth 0.1 BTC. Using either math (via a technique called Boomerang, see Newsletter #86) or layered commitments and an extra communication round (called Spear), Bob is only able to claim a maximum of 10 of the payments; any others that arrive at his node are rejected. The advantage of this approach is that up to 10 of Alice’s MPP shards can fail to reach Bob without delaying the payment. The downsides appear to be extra complexity and possibly (in the case of Spear) slower speed than today in the best case where every shard reaches Bob. The participants discussed whether any changes that would help support redundant overpayments could be made at the same time as the changes necessary for PTLCs.

    • Channel jamming mitigation proposals: a substantial portion of the notes summarized discussion about proposals to mitigate channel jamming attacks. The discussion started with a claim that no known single solution (such as reputation or upfront fees) can satisfactorily address the problem by itself without producing unacceptable downside. Reputation by itself must make allowances for new nodes without reputation and for the natural rate of failed HTLCs—provisions which an attacker can use to cause some level of harm, even if less than they could today. Upfront fees by themselves must be set high enough to discourage attackers, but that might be high enough to also discourage honest users and to create a perverse incentive for nodes to deliberately fail to forward a payment. Instead, it was proposed that using several methods together might obtain the benefits without producing the worst-case costs.

      After examining the current understanding, the discussion notes focused on details about testing the local reputation scheme described in Newsletter #226 and setting the stage for a later implementation of low upfront fees to go along with it. From the notes, it seemed like the participants supported seeing the proposal tested.

    • Simplified commitments: participants discussed the simplified commitments protocol idea (see Newsletter #120), that defines which peer is responsible for proposing the next change to the commitment transaction rather than allowing either peer to propose a new commitment transaction at any time. Putting one peer in charge eliminates the complexity of two proposals being sent at roughly the same time, such as both Alice and Bob wanting to add an HTLC simultaneously. A particular complication discussed in the notes were cases where one of the peers didn’t want to accept the other’s peer’s proposal—a situation that’s complicated to address in the current protocol. A downside of the simplified commitment approach is that it may increase latency in some cases, as the peer who is not currently responsible for proposing the next change will need to request that privilege from its counterparty before proceeding. The notes did not indicate a clear resolution to this discussion.

    • The specification process: the participants discussed various ideas for improving the specification process and the documents it manages, including the current BOLTs and BLIPs plus other ideas for documentation. The discussion appeared highly varied and no clear conclusions were apparent from the notes.

Selected Q&A from Bitcoin Stack Exchange

Bitcoin Stack Exchange is one of the first places Optech contributors look for answers to their questions—or when we have a few spare moments to help curious or confused users. In this monthly feature, we highlight some of the top-voted questions and answers posted since our last update.

Releases and release candidates

New releases and release candidates for popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects. Please consider upgrading to new releases or helping to test release candidates.

  • HWI 2.3.0 is a release of this middleware that allows software wallets to communicate with hardware signing devices. It adds support for DIY Jade devices and a binary for running the main hwi program on Apple Silicon hardware with MacOS 12.0+.

  • LDK 0.0.116 is a release of this library for creating LN-enabled software. It includes support for anchor outputs and multipath payments with keysend.

Notable code and documentation changes

Notable changes this week in Bitcoin Core, Core Lightning, Eclair, LDK, LND, libsecp256k1, Hardware Wallet Interface (HWI), Rust Bitcoin, BTCPay Server, BDK, Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), Lightning BOLTs, and Bitcoin Inquisition.

  • Bitcoin Core GUI #740 updates the PSBT operations dialog to mark outputs paying your own wallet with “own address”. This eases assessment of an imported PSBT’s outcome, especially that the transaction returns change to the sender.