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Zap Technologies Wallet and Bitcoin Lightning Network


We all know that Bitcoin Lightning Network may be an alternative to bitcoin on chain transactions, but how reliable it is and it does even work?

I tried Lightning Network for the first time with the Zap Technologies wallet just because i liked the design, i guess... :D. It doesn't even matter after all what wallet are you using unless it is buggy, it doesn't allow you to set up your own fees or it doesn't allow you to move the funds out.

1. The wallet

This is how the wallet looks like after the wallet funding, opening a channel, sending some LN transactions and closing the channel.

2. Funding the wallet

This would be just a regular on-chain transaction from your wallet. I've sent 0.00050911 BTC to my ZAP wallet, about $5 in value.

3. Open a channel

This step was a little bit tricky, in order to test the LN i had to find someone to send satoshis to. So I've decided to find some tippin.me accounts on twitter. I've also created my own account.

In order to join the LN you have to open a channel with an existing node. Obviously i tried to open a channel with the tippin.me node, but the node accepts only channels with at least 0.01 BTC commited. This was a big downside so after some more research on this LN explorer explorer.acinq.co i found out that ZAP Technologies have their own node and i was able to open a channel with them with ~50000 satoshis ( this node has an open channel with the tippin.me node...so this was quite important ).

It is quite hard to find a node that would allow you to open a small channel, i don't know why, but at this stage not too many users wants to risk too much BTC just to try out the LN. This is a significant downside in my opinion.

The cool thing is that the wallet allows you to set your own fee when opening the channel (this is also an on-chain tx), so i've set the fee to 1 sat/B. 

4. Send some LN transactions

Once my channel was open (tx confirmed) i was able to send some LN transactions to anyone i wanted. So i've sent 0.00000050 BTC to my tippin.me account and 0.00000010 BTC to @crypt0snews tippin.me account as seen in the image above. For each transaction i had to pay 1 sat as fee ( some nodes require fees if you want to route your payments thru them). So in total I've spent -62 sat.

Transactions were instant but of course in order to commit these transactions i had to close the channel on-chain.

5. Closing the channel

In this step the wallet doesn't allow you to set up your own fee (this is also an on-chain transaction). This is a big downside since the wallet choose a 24 sat/B fee while the Bitcoin mempool was almost empty at that time and the transaction would have been confirmed with just 1 sat/B as fee. 

Instead of paying ~0.00000200 BTC ($0.02) as fee i paid 0.00007289 BTC ($0.84). Maybe the wallet developers should work more on this.

The channel was closed quite quickly since the BTC mempool was nearly empty and the fee was so high. 

I will continue looking into this wallet development and LN overall. It was a nice experience and i see a bright future for this Bitcoin 2'nd layer solution called "Lightning Network".

You can read more about what Lightning Network is here.

ps: The ZAP wallet is in beta at the moment.