High onchain fee environment
Notes on using the Lightning Network when miner fees are high.


Recommendations to get ready for a high fee environment beforehand.

Channel management

  • Open channels during low fee times strategically (weekends)
  • Close inactive and unreliable channels early during low fee times
  • Minimise downtime and instability if running a routing node
  • Use private (unannounced) channels as a spending node so downtimes won't make the peer force-close

Wallet management

  • Funding from a single sig wallet is cheaper
  • Prepare a selection of good size UTXOs for minimal cost channel opens
    • consolidate (beware of privacy implications)
    • a well funded and long running JoinMarket Maker wallet will have different sizes of coinjoined outputs available


  • Activate Anchor Commitments
    • affects only the new channels opened when both peers support anchors
    • protocol.anchors=true in the lnd.conf
    • available since LND v0.12.0
    • aimed to be active by default from LND v0.13
    • will need one UTXO per channel in the onchain wallet of LND to pay the closing fee with CPFP - these are not reserved in the wallet yet
  • Set the minchansize in lnd.conf (eg. avoid <500k channels on a routing node)

Routing fees and balances

  • All nodes:
    • the channel balance will appear to be smaller as the commitment reserve will be higher
    • offchain transaction fees will also increase (remains to be proportional to the payment amount)
    • payment failures might appear more often as liquidity dries up
  • Offchain traffic will increase
  • During high fee periods less channels will be opened
  • Less capital will be reallocated
  • Submarine Swaps get more expensive (requires on-chain transactions)
  • Overall channels will get out of balance quicker

Opening channels

  • Include a change output to be able to use CPFP to bump the fee of the channel open transaction
  • Batch opens
    • the biggest saving is when using 1 input to open multiple channels
    • aim for next block with the opening transaction fee to prevent the fees running away
    • can use PSBT-s (even from ean external wallet) with the command line tools available:
    • avoid opening public and private (unannounced) channels in the same batch - defeats the purpose of not announcing channels in the gossip

Do not leave a channel open pending for more than 2016 blocks (~2 weeks)

A pending channel will become "stale" after 2016 blocks - the peer will forget about the funding transaction, so the channel will never become online.

Closing channels

  • Aim for a cooperative close if must
    • can use CPFP from the receiving wallet if a pending ccooperative close is stuck in the mempool with a low fee
  • Run the channel close command again if the transaction has been removed from the mempool
    lncli closechannel FUNDING_TXID INDEX
  • Force closes are ~5x more expensive than the next block fee at the last update
    • LND updates every 10 min on an online channel
    • Long inactive channels are a liability - especially if was online last at low miner fee period
  • Avoid and prevent force closes by minimizing downtime and instability as a routing node


  • If using watchtowers need to set the
    wtclient.sweep-fee-rate= in the lnd.conf
    to a sat/byte level where it can confirm within the CSV delay in case a breach transaction is broadcasted by the peer while the node is offline.
  • The CSV delay can be set to be longer with:
    lncli updatechanpolicy

Future improvements

  • Anchor commitments by default (affects only new channels and both peers need to support the feature)
  • Splicing and dual funding - extend the channel capacity in a single transaction
  • Taproot - can save on sending to the multisig (~26 byte from the min 140 bytes)
  • Taproot - funding from multisig wallets will be the same cost as from single sig wallets
  • ELTOO - multiparty channels and channel factories


Last modified 28d ago