I set up Lightning node (LND) and wanted to receive a payment. Autopilot for managing the channels always creates channels w/ zero remote balance, thus nobody can route a payment to/through my node.

The command for manual channel opening is lncli openchannel [command options] node-key local-amt push-amt. If I specify nonzero push-amt, the remote balance is then, unsurprisingly, nonzero.

But what I find very confusing is "whose" money that was? Have I just given my peer free bitcoin?

The help command for openchannel push-amt states: the number of satoshis to push to the remote side as part of the initial commitment state (default: 0).

1 Answer 1


The money now belongs to the counterparty in the channel you opened. In every one of your channels, whether you opened them or they were opened to you, "local balance" refers to your spendable/forwardable balance and "remote balance" refers to the counterparty's.

Don't worry though, if your node stays online reliably, then others will open channels with you, giving you inbound capacity. At this stage there's not much else you can do.

  • In case those money now belong to the counterparty, I just wonder what's the purpose of this option? It's basically equivalent of opening a channel followed by sendpayment. That's harmful behaviour. I still think I misunderstand something. Why would anyone want to just give the counterparty free money to load the channel? That doesn't make any sense to me.
    – jakob
    Jul 8, 2018 at 13:08
  • 1
    Yes, my understanding is that it's equivalent to opening a channel and performing a payment. Why is that harmful behavior? The point of a payment channel is being able to perform payments. This option lets you combine opening and paying in one action. Jul 8, 2018 at 21:02
  • My problem was that I had LN node running for about 10 days (24/7, port forwarding set correctly, alias Chainanalytics). And for the whole time nobody had opened a channel giving money to their side. I couldn't receive any payment. So I consequently thought I opened them incorrectly and I had to "tell" the peers via that command "to put the specific amount" of their money into initial channel state. I did it several times, cs it fixed the problem of being unable to receive payments. I thought when I close the channels, the money will be sent back to my wallet. Instead I just made a giveaway.
    – jakob
    Jul 10, 2018 at 17:34

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