Also covering Lightning Addresses

LNURL is a set of protocols for communicating information using URLs and HTTPS. Perhaps the most common use of LNURL is transferring BOLT11 invoices. A related protocol is Lightning Addresses which allow transforming a static identifier that looks like an RFC822 email address into a BOLT11 invoice.

An upside of LNURL is their flexibility and use of widely understood HTTP: a web developer can use their existing skills to interact with LN clients. This allows web developers to handle business logic on the web side of their application and only use a LN node to send and receive payments. It also makes it easy for web developers to use LN node capabilities in new and interesting ways, such as LNURL-based authentication.

A downside of LNURL is that hosted LNURL services may learn information about their users’ payments and other actions. For example, many Lightning Addresses are managed by centralized services that have the capability to intercept payments and potentially track how much a user receives through their Lightning Address. For this reason, alternatives to LNURL or additional layers on top of it have been proposed.

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