When looking at all of the examples with the Lightning Network, they involve "Alice" and "Bob". Alice is usually sending some kind of payment to Bob (or vice-versa). The thing is, "Alice" and "Bob" are Lightning Network daemons. From my understanding, these LN daemons require "BTCD" in order to work properly (or work at all).

Payment Channels also seem to require the use of the "Public ID" of a Lightning Network node in order to be created.

FROM: https://themerkle.com/what-is-the-lightning-network-daemon/

LND requires BTCD as its direct connection to the Bitcoin blockchain. The daemon has to receive on-chain event information in some way, and using BTCD is the most viable solution right now.

I have also seen that BTCD needs to be synched(?) properly (which could take > 12 hours to do).

So, with that, how excactly is one to run a LN Node on their Smartphone (especially since a BTCD node - which is not pruned - is needed for the LN Node to function in the first place)?

Is some other kind of client software supposed to be used? If so, what is it?


  • 1
    The Eclair mobile wallet by Acinq allows you to run lightning without a full node.
    – m1xolyd1an
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 1:38

2 Answers 2


Lightning Network wallets can run in a SPV node just like how a normal Bitcoin wallet can be a SPV wallet. However just because it is possible does not necessarily mean that all software will support this.

LND has the option to use Neutrino, a light client that uses a different SPV protocol. this protocol requires a supporting node which currently exists as a special version of btcd. It should still be possible to run a Lightning wallet that uses BIP 37 SPV although I do not know of any software that does.

  • thanks for the information. Above, you mentioned "However just because it is possible does not necessarily mean that all software will support this." How are people normally accessing the Lightning Network ~as of now~ from the Web, from Android and from iOS? Is there something special that needs to be installed on these 3 different types of platforms so that access to the Lightning Network will be successful? Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 4:41
  • AFAIK the web lightning wallets function in the same way that normal Bitcoin web wallets do - the website communicates with a server that has a lightning software on it. That server handles the LN protocol things while your browser handles the private keys necessary for creating transactions. LN software for phones use some form of SPV.
    – Ava Chow
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 4:48
  • thanks again! You said : " server handles the LN protocol " - is there a code example of this? You also said: " your browser handles the private keys" - could you point me to a code example of this? Or - provide some kind of hint :) TIA Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 4:54
  • I don't know of any LN web wallets which are open source.
    – Ava Chow
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 5:11
  • Was not looking for an open-source wallet. Just sample code on the use of LN Protocol on the server side and the use of public/private keys on client side. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 7:52

If you want full functionality and have a trustless setup, you need to run your own Bitcoin node to watch the blockchain, and run an Lightning implementation (LND, c-lightning or Eclair) on top.

  • LND uses either BTCD or Bitcoin Core (since v0.4?)
  • c-lightning uses Bitcoin Core
  • Eclair uses Bitcoin Core

But you cannot run a full node on your mobile phone, therefore the mobile Lightning node/wallet needs to connect to a remote Bitcoin node. This could probably be achieved using current SPV, but this is bad for privacy & I am not aware of a mobile app that does this. In the future, a different method (Neutrino) will be used for this purpose, which is being tested on testnet.

You can already use the Eclair Lightning wallet on your (Android 5+) phone. Not sure how they connect to their remote Bitcoin node. This app also supports opening a channel to a random node.

For the full LND node, no config is needed, as this node has an "autopilot" feature that opens and closes channels automatically.

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