I was attempting to learn more about LN and came across the article Connect to Lightning for Free.

I made a graphic of my interpretation of the instructions.

Lightning Node with three connected external nodes labeled 1, 2, and 3 that each have a channel to the main node with $5 on both sides.

In the article, the suggestion is made that the nodes 1, 2 and 3 connect to the user's own (main) Lightning Node. The purpose of this exercise is for Nodes 1, 2, and 3 to "gain access to the Lightning Network" altogether.

I was wondering if this would not be an exercise of futility (since the channels are funded with such small amounts).

  • Hi Casey, you've been asking quite a few questions lately which is highly appreciated. I've noticed however, that with some of your questions, I'm having trouble discerning what sort of answer you're looking for. Here for example, you're describing a scenario and your question appears to be "whether that is futile". This is not a question that invites explanation, and opining about whether something is sensible or not is fairly subjective. Please consider opening the scope of your question to focus on asking for an explanation: How to Ask
    – Murch
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


Channel balances on the Lightning Network are denominated in millisatoshis. $5 correspond today to roughly 0.001 BTC or 100,000 satoshis, so even a channel funded with only $5 could facilitate a number of small payments back and forth.

Assuming the main node has more connections to other nodes, the three external nodes could forward payments through the main node to other Lightning Network participants.

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