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If the lightning network is a off chain system. Are the transactions private or public? And does that mean once you send bitcoin to a lightning network address, it can possible get hidden in a payment channel? Or is that not possible?

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Are the transactions private or public?

Mostly private. If you are not involved in a transaction (i.e. not a sender, receiver, or intermediary), you really won't know anything about the transaction. Transactions occur off chain so there is no permanent record of a transaction happening. All that outside observers will see are the channel opening and closing transactions.

it can possible get hidden in a payment channel?

Yes, you can have a payment channel which no one else knows about, at least until it closes.. These could even exist today and it would not be obvious until the channel closes. And if a channel is closed cooperatively, it will look just like any other 2-of-2 multisig transaction. So even then it is not clear whether a transaction is a closing transaction for a payment channel.

  • how does this compare to privcy coins like monero? – Patoshi パトシ Apr 5 '18 at 14:32
  • Privacy coins like Monero utilize cryptography to hide the data in a transaction which is broadcast publicly. However LN maintains privacy by simply not broadcasting the transactions in a channel to the rest of the world. It is certainly not as private, and there is no guarantee of your privacy when using LN. – Andrew Chow Apr 5 '18 at 15:28
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can we still see the transaction history then?

We can see opening and closing channel transactions on the bitcoin blockchain

  • 3
    Thank you for another technically correct but useless answer. – Pieter Wuille Apr 5 '18 at 12:04

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