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I am new to the use of the Lightning Network and had a question.

To run a bitcoin node, one would need to start btcd. What would one need to run for a Lightning Node? One can specify the port a Lightning Node runs on as well - right?

Also, when a channel is opened, between 2 entities, must each entity be a Lightning Node?

For example, Bob wants to buy a coffee from Starbucks on 9th Street.

To open a channel, Bob's wallet needs to run a Lightning Node - and - the Starbucks on 9th street must also run a Lightning Node?

TIA

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Yes. In order to be a part of a network, you need to be a part of the network. This is the same as with Bitcoin...or even the internet in general.

However, it is perfectly possible for someone to run a node on your behalf. This is the same as how a web wallet operates. Some service runs one (or multiple) nodes on the Bitcoin network, and then provides you with a web interface and an account such that you can interact with the network without running your own node. This is similar in concept to printing out your grandmother's email for her to read without requiring her to touch a computer. Yes, she can still send and receive email, but with someone else operating the network node.

  • thank you for the response! You said "it is perfectly possible for someone to run a node on your behalf..." In this case, the LN Node is acting as a type of "server" while the web interface is acting like a "client"? If so, is there a coding example one can look at that displays this kind relationship (client connecting to LN Node)? Also, with regards to Grandma, you say "someone else operating the network node". Is the "network node" a SMTP server? TIA – Casey Harrils Apr 11 '18 at 14:48
  • I was thinking the node in the Grandma example was whatever computer her grandkid is on, but I suppose that grandkid is using a service where someone operates an SMTP/POP3/IMAP server on their behalf. When it comes to network protocols, it's turtles all the way down. – Jestin Apr 11 '18 at 14:52

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