Let's say a lightning node A wants to route a payment to a lightning node B, being A and B not directly connected.A looks for routes throughout the network, using the info about the total capacity of available channels and construct n possible routes to reach B.

Will A just try routes until eventually one of the n succeeds?

For what I've got by checking the BOLTS, the actual state of each sides of the channels is not announced (is it?), what means that even though a route could have enough capacity to route a payment, one of the channel could be unbalanced and the whole route may fail. Therefore, the potential failure rate when trying to route payments seems quite high.

Am I missing something?

  • 1
    the pay-request could be generated in such a way that it contains the routes hints! so i would help yo get the right route! sorry, this is more a comment that an answer, but cant comment because of my lack of reputation :/
    – Emi
    Feb 1, 2019 at 1:37

1 Answer 1


Indeed, the current state of the channels is not announced (it is allegedly hidden for privacy purposes). Therefore, A does not know if a route has enough capacity until he tries to make the payment throught that route.

A recent study claims that success rate is around 80% for USD 1.2, but only about 1% for transactions larger than 200 USD.

Related question: In lightning network, is the balance publicly anounced in realtime?

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