I encountered 'millisatoshi' (msat) while browsing Lightning Network..., see screenshoot below:

Taken from https://lnmainnet.gaben.win/

And subsequently I found it mentioned here:

https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning/blob/master/README.md#sending-and-receiving-payments

Obviously, I am curious... I thought satoshi is the smallest unit?

  • It must be a mistake. I have nothing concrete from your reference to back up my opinion, hence not an answer, but they can not possibly mean millisatoshi, it is smaller than the divisible one satoshi unit of Bitcoin. – Willtech Jan 28 at 10:54
  • But, I will try and find out definitively. – Willtech Jan 28 at 11:01
  • @Willtech I added screenshot for further clarification. – Rosdi Kasim Jan 28 at 11:20
  • Seems @MeshCollider has your answer. – Willtech Jan 29 at 11:13
up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's not a mistake, it's literally a thousandth of a satoshi. A satoshi is the smallest unit for bitcoin, but lightning can transact with even smaller units while channels are open. The amount is rounded down to the nearest satoshi when the channel is closed and broadcast to the blockchain to adhere to bitcoins limit.

  • So, a LN transaction for 50msat would be broadcast to the blockchain as what amount? – Willtech Jan 28 at 11:20
  • It would not be, its less than 1 satoshi so if your balance was that small at closing time you would get 0. – MeshCollider Jan 28 at 11:29
  • I suppose that's fine, you are technically not losing any BTC since you didn't even have 1sat. – Willtech Jan 28 at 11:35
  • "The amount is rounded down to the nearest satoshi", so... even 999 msat would be rounded down to 0 sat. Which is technically fair and easier to implement. – Rosdi Kasim Jan 28 at 14:34
  • 2
    @Murch not according to github.com/lightningnetwork/lnd/blob/master/lnwire/… – MeshCollider Jan 28 at 19:15

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