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I want to set up a long-lived lightning channel to accept bitcoin donations. The plan was to open a channel with a capacity of 2.5 mBTC (currently valued around ~100$), "reverse submarine swap" or "loop-out" the initial funds, then loop out the donations once the channel is saturated and in need of additional inbound liquidity.

I have already acquired the 3mBTC needed to cover the fees and reserves associated with opening a lightning channel. Now I'm having difficulty finding a well-connected peer with whom to open my channel. The peers I found either offer no commitment towards availability or keeping the channel open, require a large amount of bitcoin to be committed, or both. This lead me to conclude that I have misunderstood how lighting is meant to be used, and hence me posting this question.

What is the proper setup for a use-case like mine? How should reliable channels meant for sparse small donations be set up?

I am very new to bitcoin and lightning.

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In my opinion, this is an open problem, and in particular, it is a difficult answer to questions like: "What is a good node for your use case?"

In addition, there are questions like "To improve the probability of success I need to have one or more channels opened?"

I try to answer these questions from my point of view, but I'm open to discussing more on this point.

For your use case, I think it is better to open a channel with people that you know, and in particular with people that are using lightning network daily and not just people with a couple of channels open without any usage.

Now there is a couple of questions, like:

  • How you can find this node?
  • There are sites like 1ml, lightningnetwork.plus where you can find node rank by goodness with some definition of goodness.
  • There is another site that is starting as research, that is lnmetrics.info where you can find a list of a node with the uptime for some range of period, it is research and it is under development, but I think these contain good node to start, maybe with a combination of site it can help. There is also an API if you want to see the metrics collected by the lnmetrics or see the lnmetrics specification

In conclusion, your question is unresolved nowadays, and we are researching this problem. We would like to give an easy answer to the user that wants to start with bitcoin and lightning with a small amount of money, but at the moment it is easy to find nodes only that have a lot of requirements in terms of money, but if you pass some time to search you can find also your group of nodes to open a channel with.

In addition, I don't suggest opening only a single channel with the actual state of the art, but open at least two channels, because all the implementation use the MPP (multi part payments) that usually work better with more channels options.

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