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

  • Routing nodes:

  • 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