1 Getting started

This is the living reference book for the SparkSeer tool set built for Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) node operators. It can also serve as a framework to better understand the common challenges to operating a LN node in an open, decentralized, peer-to-peer market, such as:

  • What are some trends among LN nodes that can help us understand how capital is deployed?
  • Where do I allocate capital so it can be effective?
  • How much capital do I allocate?
  • How do I price that capital initially?
  • How can I value deployed capital over time?

1.1 What’s in the documentation?

There isn’t ever a single, clear answer to common challenges in running a node because the LN itself is a market that adapts to changing conditions (like mempool congestion, new players, new services) and evolves over time (like adopting a new spec, moving from HTLCs to PTLCs). No single node has access to all the inner workings of every other node–by design, because moving information off-chain is an inherent property of the LN to scale Bitcoin as a payments system. So now each node, operated by an individual or entity with their own strategies and behaviors, has a specific yet incomplete view of the network. Trying to decipher what’s going on isn’t easy.

Figuring out how to deploy capital and maintain a routing node essentially means enabling borderless, instant settlement, peer-to-peer payments on a global scale. We all want that, don’t we?

  • The manuals section goes over all of the tools available at SparkSeer to help routing node operators to make sense of the LN.

  • The workflows section runs through a couple scenarios a routing node operator would encounter to demonstrate how multiple tools can work together to inform a decision. It would be a good idea to quickly look through the manuals to better understand the different pieces that make up a workflow.

  • The how-to section contains non-exhaustive information on how to do common tasks

  • The API section goes over… the API!

  • The glossary includes definitions for jargon commonly used in the LN routing world.

  • A page dedicated to other useful resources