Is there a provable way to "burn" a single satoshi for example?

2 Answers 2


The Lightning Network is just a collection of two-party agreements on the latest channel state, and these agreements are represented by pre-signed force-close transactions which pay each party their own respective channel balance.

One way of "burning" coins then would be to negotiate a new channel state that includes an extra OP_RETURN output with the burned amount (I'm not sure if the current LN specification allows that, but there's nothing technically preventing it). However, until a channel state with this OP_RETURN output gets settled on the blockchain when the channel is closed, the two channel parties can undo the "burn" if they agree on a new channel state without it (and there's probably no reason for them not to), so this proof of burn cannot be relied on by any third parties.


There is no way, because to provably burn coins you use scripts such as OP_RETURN, which are quite like saying "I announce that these coins are unspendable".

You don't announce anything when making a lightning transaction, other than the new state to your fellow partner exclusively. It's the same reason why you can't have things such as NFTs off-chain.

  • Coins can be provably burned without any OP_RETURN or anouncment -- just by sending them to a provably unspendable address like the 1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE. Nov 26, 2022 at 18:15
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    @JonathanCross, that isn't provably unspendable. It's part of the UTXO, and in fact, there are about 2^96 valid private keys that can unlock these outputs. But, indeed, there are ways to provably burn coins without the OP_RETURN script, just by sending coins to nowhere as it happened with transaction "5bd88ab32b50e4a691dcfd1fff9396f512e003d7275bb5c1b816ab071beca5ba".
    – Angelo
    Nov 26, 2022 at 18:40
  • Thanks, you are correct, 1BitcoinEaterAddressDontSendf59kuE is "highly unlikely to be spendable". I suppose we could do even better with a Taproot (SegWit v1) address? Dec 10, 2022 at 19:39

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