Lightning: LND

Table of contents

  1. Dowload LND
  2. LND configuration
  3. Run LND
  4. LND wallet setup
  5. Autostart LND
  6. Get some testnet Bitcoin
    1. LND in action
  7. Additional topics
    1. (Optional) Add aliases for easier commands
    2. LND upgrade
  8. Before proceeding to mainnet

Now we will set up LND, the Lightning Network Daemon by Lightning Labs. Check out their Github repository for a wealth of information about their open-source project and Lightning in general.

Dowload LND

Download and install LND

$ cd /home/admin/download
$ rm -rf /home/admin/download/*
$ wget
$ wget
$ wget
$ wget

$ sha256sum --check manifest-v0.8.1-beta.txt --ignore-missing
> lnd-linux-armv7-v0.8.1-beta.tar.gz: OK

$ gpg ./pgp_keys.asc
> 9769140D255C759B1EB77B46A96387A57CAAE94D

$ gpg --import ./pgp_keys.asc
$ gpg --verify manifest-v0.8.1-beta.txt.sig
> gpg: Good signature from "Olaoluwa Osuntokun <>" [unknown]
> Primary key fingerprint: 9769 140D 255C 759B 1EB7  7B46 A963 87A5 7CAA E94D
>      Subkey fingerprint: 4AB7 F8DA 6FAE BB3B 70B1  F903 BC13 F65E 2DC8 4465

$ tar -xzf lnd-linux-armv7-v0.8.1-beta.tar.gz
$ sudo install -m 0755 -o root -g root -t /usr/local/bin lnd-linux-armv7-v0.8.1-beta/*
$ lnd --version
> lnd version 0.8.0-beta commit=v0.8.1-beta

Checksum LND

LND configuration

Now that LND is installed, we need to configure it to work with Bitcoin Core and run automatically on startup.

  • Still as user ‘admin’, create a symbolic link to the ip binary located in /bin/ip, as it seems as LND cannot find it in some cases.
    $ sudo ln -s /bin/ip /usr/bin/ip

  • Open a “bitcoin” user session
    $ sudo su - bitcoin

  • Create the LND working directory and the corresponding symbolic link
    $ mkdir /mnt/hdd/lnd
    $ ln -s /mnt/hdd/lnd /home/bitcoin/.lnd
    $ ls -la

Check symlink LND

  • Create the LND configuration file and paste the following content (adjust to your alias). Save and exit.
    $ nano /home/bitcoin/.lnd/lnd.conf
# RaspiBolt: lnd configuration
# /home/bitcoin/.lnd/lnd.conf

[Application Options]

# Your router must support and enable UPnP, otherwise delete this line  


# enable either testnet or mainnet



Some explanations about this configuration:

  • The configuration option nat=true expects your internet router to support Universal Plug’n’Play (UPnP) and have it enabled. This allows LND to make your node reachable from outside your network by setting up port forwarding, announce your external ip address and update this information if your ip address changes. This is currently the only reliable configuration to have a routing Lightning node.

    If your router does not support UPnP, LND will still work, but your node will be a private Lightning node for your own payments and not able to route payments for others. In this case, you need to delete the nat=true line in the configuration file above, otherwise LND will not start. Another option is to pass your ip address on LND start (see external guide).

  • The configuration above has autopilot enabled and will automatically open up to 5 channels with 60% of your funds. You might want to adjust this to suit your needs. With you can disable the autopilot completely and manage channels manually.

:point_right: Additional information: sample-lnd.conf in the LND project repository


Again, we switch to the user “bitcoin” and first start the program manually to check if everything works fine.

$ sudo su - bitcoin
$ lnd

The daemon prints the status information directly to the command line. This means that we cannot use that session without stopping the server. We need to open a second SSH session.

LND wallet setup

Start your SSH program (eg. PuTTY) a second time, connect to the Pi and log in as “admin”. Commands for the second session start with the prompt $2 (which must not be entered).

Once LND is started, the process waits for us to create the integrated Bitcoin wallet (it does not use the “bitcoind” wallet).

  • Start a “bitcoin” user session
    $2 sudo su - bitcoin

  • Create the LND wallet

    $2 lncli --network=testnet create

  • If you want to create a new wallet, enter your password [C] as wallet password, select n regarding an existing seed and enter the optional password [D] as seed passphrase. A new cipher seed consisting of 24 words is created.

LND new cipher seed

These 24 words, combined with your passphrase (optional password [D]) is all that you need to restore your Bitcoin wallet and all Lighting channels. The current state of your channels, however, cannot be recreated from this seed, this requires a continuous backup and is still under development for LND.

:warning: This information must be kept secret at all times. Write these 24 words down manually on a piece of paper and store it in a safe place. This piece of paper is all an attacker needs to completely empty your wallet! Do not store it on a computer. Do not take a picture with your mobile phone. This information should never be stored anywhere in digital form.

  • exit “bitcoin” user session
    $2 exit

Let’s authorize the “admin” user to work with LND using the command line interface lncli. For that to work, we need to copy the Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate and the permission files (macaroons) to the admin home folder.

  • Check if the TLS certificates have been created
    $2 sudo ls -la /home/bitcoin/.lnd/

  • Check if permission files admin.macaroon and readonly.macaroon have been created.
    $2 sudo ls -la /home/bitcoin/.lnd/data/chain/bitcoin/testnet/

Check macaroon

  • Copy permission files and TLS cert to user “admin”
    $2 cd /home/bitcoin/
    $2 sudo cp --parents .lnd/data/chain/bitcoin/testnet/admin.macaroon /home/admin/
    $2 sudo cp /home/bitcoin/.lnd/tls.cert /home/admin/.lnd
    $2 sudo chown -R admin:admin /home/admin/.lnd/
  • Make sure that lncli works by unlocking your wallet (enter password [C] ) and getting some node infos.
    $2 lncli --network=testnet unlock
  • Check the current state of LND $2 lncli --network=testnet getinfo

You can also see the progress of the initial sync of LND with Bitcoin in the first SSH session.

Check for the following two lines to make sure that the port forwarding is successfully set up using UPnP. If LND is not able to configure your router (that may not support UPnP, for example), your node will still work, but it will not be able to router transactions for other network participants.

[INF] SRVR: Scanning local network for a UPnP enabled device
[INF] SRVR: Automatically set up port forwarding using UPnP to advertise external IP

Let’s stop the server for the moment and focus on our primary SSH session again.

  • $2 lncli --network=testnet stop
  • $2 exit

This should terminate LND “gracefully” in SSH session 1 that can now be used interactively again.

Autostart LND

Now, let’s set up LND to start automatically on system startup.

  • Exit the “bitcoin” user session back to “admin”
    $ exit
  • Create LND systemd unit and with the following content. Save and exit.
    $ sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/lnd.service
# RaspiBolt: systemd unit for lnd
# /etc/systemd/system/lnd.service

Description=LND Lightning Daemon



  • Enable, start and unlock LND
    $ sudo systemctl enable lnd
    $ sudo systemctl start lnd
    $ systemctl status lnd
    $ lncli --network=testnet unlock

  • Now, the daemon information is no longer displayed on the command line but written into the system journal. You can monitor the LND startup progress until it caught up with the testnet blockchain (about 1.3m blocks at the moment). This can take up to 2 hours, after that you see a lot of very fast chatter (exit with Ctrl-C).
    $ sudo journalctl -f -u lnd

LND startup log

Get some testnet Bitcoin

Now your Lightning node is ready. To use it in testnet, you can get some free testnet bitcoin from a faucet.

  • Generate a new Bitcoin address to receive funds on-chain
    $ lncli --network=testnet newaddress np2wkh
    > "address": "2NCoq9q7............dkuca5LzPXnJ9NQ"

  • Get testnet bitcoin:

  • Check your LND wallet balance
    $ lncli --network=testnet walletbalance

  • Monitor your transaction (the faucet shows the TX ID) on a Blockchain explorer:

LND in action

As soon as your funding transaction is mined and confirmed, LND will start to open and maintain channels. This feature is called “Autopilot” and is configured in the “lnd.conf” file. If you would like to maintain your channels manually, you can disable the autopilot.

Get yourself a payment request on StarBlocks or Y’alls and move some coins!

  • $ lncli --network=testnet listpeers
  • $ lncli --network=testnet listchannels
  • $ lncli --network=testnet sendpayment --pay_req=lntb32u1pdg7p...y0gtw6qtq0gcpk50kww
  • $ lncli --network=testnet listpayments

:point_right: see Lightning API reference for additional information

Additional topics

(Optional) Add aliases for easier commands

If you don’t want to type out the full commands each time, aliases will help. See the Additional scripts section for alias setup.

LND upgrade

If you want to upgrade to a new release of LND in the future, check out the FAQ section:
How to upgrade LND

Before proceeding to mainnet

This is the point of no return. Up until now, you can just start over. Experiment with testnet bitcoin. Open and close channels on the testnet.

Once you switch to mainnet and send real bitcoin to your RaspiBolt, you have “skin in the game”.

  • Make sure your RaspiBolt is working as expected.
  • Get a little practice with bitcoin-cli and its options (see Bitcoin Core RPC documentation)
  • Do a dry run with lncli and its many options (see Lightning API reference)
  • Try a few restarts (sudo shutdown -r now), is everything starting fine?

Next: Mainnet »