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I've spent some time setting up Umbrel on my rPi4, I've synced my Bitcoin Core wallet and funded two channels... Which I've now come to realize that's for me to make payments.

I was really hoping to use my BTC to help the growth of the Lightning network and facilitate payments by routing payments, can this be done with my current setup? Still so little info out there...

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It can be done, but it's not trivial. Technically, in order to be able to route payments, you need liquidity in both directions, incoming as well as outgoing. If you just funded two channels, you only have outgoing liquidy now (all the money is on your side).

There are many ways to gain incoming liquity. You could spend or swap the funds in your channels (or a part of them). You could ask someone to open a channel to you (https://lnbig.com seem to give these away for free). You could buy liquidy from https://lightning.engineering/posts/2020-11-02-lightning-pool/.

But that's just the beginning. If you really want to contribute, you need to always manage your node so that it provides routes where people need them. This is an art and you can surely find more hints by googling.

There are some developments underway to automate this process. If you used c-lightning instead of LND, you could try the clboss plugin, which has the goal of making all these choices without user input. Your mileage may vary.

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  • another option is to send funds to an exchange that supports lightning network. you could then withdraw the funds as an onchain withdraw or to another lightning node (I am sure the exchange would open a channel with your 2nd node in case you withdraw funds Mar 8 at 0:11
  • This is my first time using lightning and I'm struggling to see the point really... Unless it goes like this, I stake my BTC and the network uses my BTC to facilitate payments on the network and I receive routing payments for providing liquidity... Then why would I use it? It's been around a few years and it's still way too hard for people to use, seems like and utter waste of time to me
    – onis
    Mar 8 at 19:54

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