Blockstream Simplifies Lightning With on-Demand Node Service—Greenlight
Greenlight brings ‘not your keys, not your coins’ to Lightning node hosting
Greenlight is an all-in-one service that allows users to set up a Lightning node using Blockstream’s cloud infrastructure while maintaining total control over their funds. The private keys, required to sign both on-chain and off-chain transactions, never leave the user’s personal device. Users interact with the node through a simple programmable interface with Blockstream managing all the infrastructure behind the scenes.
“Getting started with Lightning can be a challenge for some, especially the more technical aspects like operating channels or creating backups and watchtowers,” explained Christian Decker, Core Tech Engineer at Blockstream. “As a result, many people prefer custodial services, who manage the technical side for them, but do so at the cost of trusting the service operator with their private keys. At Blockstream, we think there’s a better way with Greenlight, which lets users operate a node while also having control over their private keys and bitcoin, leaving the intricacies of node operation up to the professionals.”
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Greenlight is built on top of c-lightning, an implementation of the Lightning Network protocol optimized for performance and extendibility. The use of c-lightning results in very low operational costs, and the savings are passed on to Greenlight’s users. Greenlight also enables sharing a single node among any number of front-ends, saving on-chain fees for the user and reducing the fragmentation of funds.
Currently, Greenlight is available through Lightning-powered technology companies Sphinx and Lastbit, with an incremental rollout planned for the greater public after the initial beta phase. Both platforms enable visitors to spin up a c-lightning node on demand without the overhead of syncing with the blockchain, installing a node, or setting up infrastructure.
“Greenlight hits the sweet spot for many users who want to get on Sphinx and Lightning, but don’t have the time or ability to maintain their own node. For any Sphinx Greenlight users, we’ll open a channel to your node so you can send and receive messages without moving around bitcoin,” said Paul Itoi, Chief Executive Officer at Sphinx.
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“Lastbit’s key infrastructure involves abstracting away the complexities of Lightning whilst presenting a compliant and non-custodial interface. Greenlight enables this by allowing us to delegate key management and custody directly to our end-user,” said Prashanth Balasubramanian, Founder at Lastbit.
As a user-friendly option, Greenlight acts as an educational tool for novices to learn the ins and outs of the network. Once users are knowledgeable enough, Greenlight offers the option to export nodes and load them onto alternative platforms. Greenlight also aims to equip everyday developers and incentivize building Lightning-enabled apps by removing the barrier of having to be a node operator.
Blockstream is committed to consistently upgrading Greenlight with new features, security and privacy, as well as greater accessibility. In the short term, Lightning users can expect Greenlight to have a variety of new features implemented, such as automatically proposing channels, liquidity rebalancing, and swap services. During the rollout and initial testing phases of Greenlight, users will have access to the service free of charge.