I'm watching this Lightning Network presentation by the original authors. At 9 minutes in, he notes that all the network sees will be a transaction to the multisig address and then a transaction to Alice for 0.8 BTC and a transaction to Bob for 0.2 BTC.

Is all of this effectively 3 transactions? Would it not be cheaper and clog the blockchain less by simpling having Alice send 0.1 BTC to Bob and then another 0.1 BTC to Bob and have 2 transactions instead of 3?

1 Answer 1


Is all of this effectively 3 transactions?

No, assuming you mean '3 on-chain transactions'. It is useful to make a distinction between an 'on-chain transaction' and a payment being sent. To open a LN channel requires one (on-chain) transaction, and to close it requires another.

But while the LN channel is open, the participants can send each-other an unlimited number of payments using the channel (up to their channel capacity, of course). These payments are not recorded on-chain, instead their LN nods keep track of the channel's current state. This allows for more efficient use of blockchain space, while simultaneously giving the channel participants a mechanism for sending payments efficiently and without needing to trust their counter-party, or a third party.

Further, the channel participants can also route payments to other LN users, assuming that there is a valid route with the proper capacity available. A highly connected LN graph could allow all users to make payments to each other, without needing to constantly publish on-chain transactions.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.