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lndmanage

lndmanage is a command line tool for advanced channel management of an LND node.

See installation instructions.

Feature list:

  • Activity reports report
  • Display the node summary status
  • info command: explore info about a channel or node in the graph
  • Advanced channel listings listchannels
  • Peer listing listpeers: aggregated channel statistics
  • Fee updating update-fees: increase revenue and rebalance by fee optimization
  • Rebalancing command rebalance
    • different rebalancing strategies can be chosen
    • a target 'balancedness' can be specified (e.g. to empty the channel)
  • Circular self-payments circle
  • Recommendation of good nodes recommend-nodes
  • Batched channel opening openchannels
  • Support of lncli

DISCLAIMER: This is BETA software, so please be careful (All actions are executed as a dry run unless you call lndmanage with the --reckless flag though). No warranty is given.

Command Line Options

usage: lndmanage.py [-h] [--loglevel {INFO,DEBUG}] {status,listchannels,rebalance,circle,recommend-nodes,report,info,lncli,openchannels,update-fees} ...

Lightning network daemon channel management tool.

positional arguments:
  {status,listchannels,rebalance,circle,recommend-nodes,report,info,lncli,openchannels,update-fees}
    status              display node status
    listchannels        lists channels with extended information [see also subcommands with -h]
    listpeers           lists peers with extended information
    rebalance           rebalance a channel
    circle              circular self-payment
    recommend-nodes     recommends nodes [see also subcommands with -h]
    report              displays reports of activity on the node
    info                displays info on channels and nodes
    lncli               execute lncli
    openchannels        opens multiple channels with UTXO control
    update-fees         optimize the fees on your channels to increase revenue and to automatically rebalance

Info Command

Sometimes it is necessary to get more information about a specific public channel or node. This could be for example trying to figure out what fees are typically charged by a node or to look up its IP address.

With the info command you can enter

$ lndmanage info CHANNEL_ID

or

$ lndmanage info NODE_PUBLIC_KEY

and it will automatically detect whether you are asking for a channel or node info.

Sample output for a channel:

-------- Channel info --------
channel id: CHANIDXXXXXXXXXXXX  channel point: CHANPOINTXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX:X
          capacity:                 500000 sat                                                                                      
          blockheight:              606273                                                                                          
          open since:               2019-10-07 13:31:24                                                                             
          channel age:              139.030000 days                                                                                  
          last update:              2020-02-25 06:15:09                                                                             

-------- Channel partners --------
NODEPUBKEYXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX | NODEPUBKEYXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                       ALIAS 1                                     |                       ALIAS 2
          base fee:                 1000 msat                      |           base fee:                 1000 msat                       
          fee rate:                 0.000001 sat/sat               |           fee rate:                 0.002500 sat/sat              
          time lock delta:          40 blocks                      |           time lock delta:          14 blocks                     
          disabled:                 False                          |           disabled:                 False                         
          last update:              2020-01-20 13:12:09            |           last update:              2020-01-22 10:28:57

Sample output for a node:

-------- Node info --------
NODEPUBKEYXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
          alias:                    ALIAS                                                                                           
          last update:              2020-02-24 16:45:09                                                                             
          number of channels:       44                                                                                              
          total capacity:           33333333 sat                                                                                    
          capacity (median):        150000 sat                                                                                      
          capacity (mean):          500000 sat                                                                                      
          base fee (median):        1000 msat                                                                                       
          base fee (mean):          666 msat                                                                                        
          fee rate (median):        0.000001 sat/sat                                                                                
          fee rate (mean):          0.002039 sat/sat                                                                                
-------- Addresses --------
     NODEPUBKEYXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@XX.XXX.XXX.XXX:9735

Activity Report

With lndmanage you can get a compact overview of what happened during the last day(s). It will show you forwarding activity (total forwardings, forwarding fees, and forwarding amounts) as well as channel opening and closing events by invoking

$ lndmanage report

Different time intervals can be specified with the --from-days-ago and --to-days-ago flags.

Here is a sample report for one of the subreports. The activity histogram for the time interval is displayed as a one-line histogram, which consists of Braille-like characters.

Report from yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm to yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm

Forwardings:
   activity (⣿ represents 8 forwardings):

   |⠀⠀⡀⡀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⡀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⣄⠀⣀⠀⣦⣀⠀⡀⡀⠀⡀⡀⠀⡀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⣀⣀⡀⣀⡀⡀⣀⠀⣀⡀⣄|

   total forwardings: 37
   forwardings per day: 37

   channels with most outgoing forwardings:
   cidxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx: 10
   cidxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx: 6
   cidxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx: 4
   cidxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx: 3
   cidxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx: 3

Channel Rebalancing

The workflow for rebalancing a channel goes as follows:

  • take a look at all your unbalanced channels with:

    $ lndmanage listchannels rebalance

    The output will look like:

   -------- Description --------
  cid        channel id
  ub         unbalancedness [-1 ... 1] (0 is 50:50 balanced)
  cap        channel capacity [sat]
  lb         local balance [sat]
  rb         remote balance [sat]
  pbf        peer base fee [msat]
  pfr        peer fee rate
  annotation channel annotation
  alias      alias
  -------- Channels --------
         cid            ub       cap        lb        rb    pbf       pfr alias
  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx -0.78   1000000    888861     99480     10  0.000200   abc                
  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx -0.63   1000000    814537    173768    300  0.000010   def
  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  0.55   2000000    450792   1540038     35  0.000002   ghi
  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  0.59    400000     81971    306335    400  0.000101   jkl
  ...
  • the ub field tells you how unbalanced your channel is and in which direction

  • take a channel_id from the list you wish to rebalance (target is a 50:50 balance)

  • do a dry run to see what's waiting for you

    $ lndmanage rebalance --max-fee-sat 20 --max-fee-rate 0.00001 channel_id

  • read the output and if everything looks well, then run with the --reckless flag

  • in order to increase the success probability of your rebalancing you can try to do it in smaller chunks, which can be set by the flag --chunksize 0.5 (in this example only half the amounts are used)

Forwarding Information

A more sophisticated way to see if funds have to be reallocated is to have a look at the forwarding statistics of, e.g., the last two months of the individual channels with $ lndmanage listchannels forwardings --from-days-ago 60 --sort-by='fees' (here sorted by total fees, but it can be sorted by any column field).

The output will look like:

-------- Description --------
cid        channel id
nfwd       number of forwardings
age        channel age [days]
fees       total fees [sat]
f/w        total fees per week [sat / week]
flow       flow direction (positive is outwards)
ub         unbalancedness [-1 ... 1] (0 is 50:50 balanced)
bwd        bandwidth demand: capacity / max(mean_in, mean_out)
r          action is required
cap        channel capacity [sat]
pbf        peer base fee [msat]
pfr        peer fee rate
annotation channel annotation
alias      alias
-------- Channels --------
       cid         nfwd   age  fees     f/w  flow    ub  bwd r     cap  pbf      pfr  alias
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    6   103   907 106.950  1.00  0.30 0.00 X 6000000  231 0.000006    abc
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    3    82   300  35.374 -0.08  0.74 0.70   1000000 1000 0.000001    def
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    4    32   216  25.461  0.42  0.38 0.17 X 6000000 1003 0.000003    ghi
...

Fee Optimization

The update-fees command lets you dynamically update the fee rates and base fees on your channels. It analyzes the outward (fee-earning) forwardings that happened on them and lowers or increases fees incrementally based on the demand. The minimal and maximal fee rate boundaries are configurable (see update-fees -h). The fee optimization will enforce that fee rates are not lowered, when the channel has no outbound liquidity, it economically enforces a buffer for excess demand times.

The command will not set new fees unless the user answers with yes after the statistics output.

Example output for a channel with excess demand:

>>> Fee optimization for node XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (node alias):
    Channels with peer: 1, total capacity: 5000000, total local balance: 1033113
    Outward forwarded amount: 1521253 (rate 217322 / target rate 14286)
    Number of outward forwardings:      1
    Fee rate change: 0.000150 -> 0.000225 (factor 1.500)
    Base fee change:    0 ->    0 (factor 0.750)
  > Statistics for channel XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX:
    ub: 0.59, flow: 0.26, fees: 226.666 sat, cap: 5000000 sat, lb: 1033113 sat, nfwd: 2, in: 895518 sat, out: 1521253 sat.

One can see that the channel routed more than the target of 14286 sat/day, so the fee rate is increased by a factor of 1.5.

Example output for a channel with no demand:

>>> Fee optimization for node XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (node alias):
    Channels with peer: 1, total capacity: 5000000, total local balance: 3134892
    Outward forwarded amount:      0 (rate     0 / target rate 14286)
    Number of outward forwardings:      0
    Fee rate change: 0.000149 -> 0.000106 (factor 0.707)
    Base fee change:    0 ->    0 (factor 0.750)
  > Statistics for channel XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX:
    ub: -0.25, flow: 0.00, fees: 0.000 sat, cap: 5000000 sat, lb: 3134892 sat, nfwd: 0, in: 0 sat, out: 0 sat.

There was no demand on that channel, so the fee rate was decreased by a factor of 0.707.

Example for an exhausted channel:

>>> Fee optimization for node XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (node alias)
    Channels with peer: 1, total capacity: 2000000, total local balance: 20810
    Outward forwarded amount:      0 (rate     0 / target rate 14286)
    Number of outward forwardings:      0
    Fee rate change: 0.000150 -> 0.000157 (factor 1.048)
    Base fee change:    0 ->    0 (factor 0.750)
  > Statistics for channel XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX:
    ub: 0.98, flow: 0.00, fees: 0.000 sat, cap: 2000000 sat, lb: 20810 sat, nfwd: 0, in: 0 sat, out: 0 sat.

This channel is exhausted (it only has 20810 sat left in it, or ub=0.98). Even though there was no demand for this channel, the fee rate is not lowered, but kept roughly constant (increased a bit by factor 1.048) in the hope it will be filled again by an incoming forwarding event.

The target for how much a channel should route per day can be set via the --target-forwarding-amount-sat config parameter. This value has direct influence on the revenue, but it is unknown beforehand and every node operator has to tune it. A reasonable value could be half of the daily routed amount of the best-income channel (see lndmanage listchannels forwardings). Future work will focus on setting the target amount automatically on a per channel basis. After each optimization step forwarding statistics are collected in a json file, to use the data in the future to model the fee-demand curve. Please report if the default parameter is way too off for you.

Channels can be exempt from fee updates via the [excluded-channels-fee-opt] config section, see config example.

The update-fees command is meant to be run periodically. A weekly interval is recommended to not put too much strain on the network, which also averages out weekly patterns and makes the gossip propagate also to nodes that are not always online like mobile phones.

A convenient way to run this command automatically (every Sunday) is via a cronjob:

$ crontab -e
# m h  dom mon dow   command
0 0 * * Sun lndmanage update-fees --reckless --from-days-ago 7

Initial fee setting

If a node was bootstrapped or one is unsure which initial fees to apply, it is recommended to apply high inital fee rates. This can be accomplished by $ lndmanage update-fees --init. If the node has done already some forwardings, one can immediately follow with a $ lndmanage update-fees --from-days-ago 30 and the fees will adjust downwards or upwards depending on the historic traffic. In order for opened channels to not start with a very low fee setting (and thus to prevent immediate depletion), it is recommended to set a default high fee rate for channel opening in the lnd config:

bitcoin.feerate=2500

Channel hygiene

Inactive Channels

Inactive channels (Zombie channels) lock up capital, which can be used elsewhere. In order to close those channels it is useful to take a look at the inactive channels with $ lndmanage listchannels inactive.

You will get an output like:

-------- Description --------
cid        channel id
lupp       last update time by peer [days ago]
priv       channel is private
ini        true if we opened channel
age        channel age [days]
ub         unbalancedness [-1 ... 1] (0 is 50:50 balanced)
cap        channel capacity [sat]
lb         local balance [sat]
rb         remote balance [sat]
sr/w       sent and received per week [sat]
annotation channel annotation
alias      alias

-------- Channels --------
cid                lupp priv ini age    ub     cap    lb   rb sr/w alias
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   66  ✗   ✓   71  0.03 2000000 10000  100    0   abc
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   20  ✗   ✗  113 -0.23   40000     0    0    0   def
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   19  ✓   ✗   21  1.00 1200000  1000    0    0   ghi
...

Channels, which were updated a long time ago (lupp) are likely to be inactive in the future and may be closed. Be aware, that if you are the initiator of the channel, you have to pay a hefty fee for the force closing.

Active Channels

As well as inactive channels, active channels can lock up capital that is better directed towards other nodes. In order to facilitate the hard decision whether a channel should be closed, one can have a look at the $ lndmanage listchannels hygiene command output, which will display relevant data of the last 60 days:

-------- Description --------
cid        channel id
age        channel age [days]
nfwd       number of forwardings
f/w        total fees per week [sat / week]
ulr        ratio of uptime to lifetime of channel [0 ... 1]
lb         local balance [sat]
cap        channel capacity [sat]
pbf        peer base fee [msat]
pfr        peer fee rate
annotation channel annotation
alias      alias
-------- Channels --------
       cid           age  nfwd    f/w   ulr        lb       cap   pbf      pfr alias           
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   315     0   0.00  0.20       100     91000  1000 0.000001 abc 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   221     0   0.00  0.80         0    400000  1000 0.000001 def 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    36     0   0.00  0.99         0    200000  1000 0.000001 ghi 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    24     5   0.20  1.00    100000   4000000   500 0.000001 jkl 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   117    10   1.10  1.00     30000    500000  1000 0.000001 mno

You can base your decision on the number of forwardings nfwd and the fees collected per week f/w. If those numbers are low and the local balance lb is high and the channel already had enough time (age) to prove itself, you may want to consider closing the channel. Another way to judge the reliability of the channel is to look at the proportion the channel stayed active when your node was active, given by the ulr column.

Peer listing

The command $ lndmanage listpeers will show aggregated statistics for channels. This is important if one has for example a public channel (for route advertisement), but other channels are kept private. Care must be taken that always at least a single channel is public, which is indicated by the maximum public channel capacity. listpeers shows statistics such as total incoming and outgoing forwarding amounts as well as total local and remote balance. Subcommands listpeers in or listpeers out can be used to sort by incoming or outgoing traffic.

Channel Opening Strategies

Which nodes best to connect to in the Lightning Network is ongoing research. This also depends on your personal use case, whether you are a paying user, a routing node operator or a service provider (or subsets of those). Therefore we need to empirically test, what good nodes mean to us. lndmanage gives you a few options to chose nodes from the network based on several heuristics:

  • recommend-nodes good-old: Based on historic forwardings of closed channels, a list of nodes is compiled with which your node has already had a good relationship. Due to that relationship, good interaction with that node in the future is likely.
  • recommend-nodes flow-analysis: If your node has already routed payments, you can use this information to your favor. If you want to improve your position in the Lightning Network for routing, you may want to look for need of inbound liquidity. This can be achieved by estimating the probability where the payments you routed were ending up. If you connect to those nodes directly you bypass other routing nodes.
  • recommend-nodes external-source: This command lets you access text-based lists of nodes, which are associated with economic activity. You can provide a URL, which is parsed for node public keys and suggests nodes to connect to (defaults to the list of lightning networkstores). Another example of the command using 'bos-scores' is $ lndmanage recommend-nodes external-source --source https://nodes.lightning.computer/availability/v1/btc.json.
  • recommend-nodes channel-openings: When lightning nodes of new services are bootstrapped by opening a bunch of channels at the same time, we can detect this. Typically, a node with a large number of channel fluctuation signals economic activity. As the newly opened channels will predominantly be of outbound type, the node will have a large demand for inbound liquidity, which is something you want to exploit as a routing node.
  • recommend-nodes second-neighbors: One way of improving the position of the node in the network is to get connected to as many as possible other nodes with a least number of additional hops. With the second-neighbors command you can get a list of nodes that would give you the most new second neighbors, if you would open up a channel with.

lndmanage supports a channel annotation functionality. This serves for remembering why a certain channel was opened. By adding the funding transaction id or channel id to the config file ~/.lndmanage/config.ini under the annotations section (as specified in config_sample.ini), annotations can be saved. These annotations will then appear in the listchannels views.

Batched Channel Opening

lndmanage supports batched channel opening support using LND's internal wallet. With this command you can specify node pubkeys, amounts, and have coin control to avoid change creation. Reserves for anchor commitments are respected or created automatically.

The openchannels command can operate in several ways. You only specify the node pubkeys as a minimal input and the tool will automatically connect to the nodes in the channel opening process. You may also specify a list of UTXOs which are used as the budget. The individual channel capacities can be given either as absolute values, or as relative values (they will be rescaled to the sum of UTXOs), or you can give a total amount, which will be distributed over the new channels.

Anchor commitments introduce some UX issues with reserving UTXOs that are needed to confirm commitment transactions in time via child-pays-for-parent. This is why you won't be able to spend down all funds on newer versions of LND. lndmanage recognizes this case and will not touch small UTXOs that are suitable for reserves, or it will create them.

Support of lncli

lndmanage supports the native command line interface of lnd in interactive mode. This achieves the goal of having to only open one terminal window for node management and enables an easy way to run lncli from remote machines. In interactive mode lncli is available as it would be via command line, e.g.:

$ lndmangage lncli getinfo

The json text output you get from lncli is syntax highlighted. To enable lncli support, lndmanage needs to find the lncli executable on the path, or in the ~/.lndmanage home folder (or environment variable LNDMANAGE_HOME). To get the lncli binary, copy it over from your $GOPATH/bin/lncli, compile it yourself, or download one of the official releases. If lndmanage runs on the same host as lnd you typically don't have to do anything. To check if it's working you should see Enabled lncli: using /path/to/lncli and be able to access the lncli option.

Setup

lndmanage will be developed in lockstep with lnd and tagged accordingly. If you are running an older version of lnd checkout the according tag.

Requirements

Installation of lndmanage requires >=python3.8, lnd v0.13.X/v0.14.0, python3-venv.

Optional Requirements

Depending on if you want to install from source dependency packages you may need gcc, g++, python3-dev(el).

LND Build Requirements

Some commands will only work correctly if lnd is built with the routerrpc. This can be done when compiling with minimal build tags of make && make install tags="routerrpc signrpc walletrpc". If you use precompiled binaries, you can ignore this.

Admin Macaroon and TLS cert needed

If you run this tool from a different host than the lnd host, make sure to copy /path/to/.lnd/data/chain/bitcoin/mainnet/admin.macaroon and /path/to/.lnd/tls.cert to your local machine, which you need for later configuration.

Linux

You can install lndmanage via two methods:

1. Install with pip (recommended):

$ python3 -m venv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate
$ pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel
$ python3 -m pip install lndmanage

2. Install from source:

$ git clone https://github.com/bitromortac/lndmanage
$ cd lndmanage
$ python3 -m venv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate
$ pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel
$ pip install .

Windows (powershell)

Install python3, git, and visual studio build tools.

You need to set the environment variable PYTHONIOENCODING for proper encoding to: $env:PYTHONIOENCODING="UTF-8"

1. Install with pip (recommended):

$ py -m venv venv
$ .\venv\Scripts\activate
$ pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel
$ python -m pip install lndmanage

2. Install from source:

$ git clone https://github.com/bitromortac/lndmanage
$ cd lndmanage
$ py -m venv venv
$ .\venv\Scripts\activate
$ pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel
$ pip install .

Configuration

When starting lndmanage for the first time, it will create a runtime folder /home/user/.lndmanage, where the configuration config.ini and log files reside. This folder location can be overwritten by setting an environment variable LNDMANAGE_HOME. If you run this tool from a remote host to the lnd host, you need to configure config.ini.

Running lndmanage

The installation process created an executable lndmanage, which will only be available if the created python environment is active (your prompt should have an (venv) in front):

$ source venv/bin/activate

then run

(venv) $ lndmanage status

If it works, you should see the node status.

Running lndmanage interactively (recommended)

lndmanage supports an interactive mode with command history. The interactive mode has the advantage that the network graph has to be read into memory only once, giving a much faster execution time for subsequent command invocations.

Interactive mode is started by calling lndmanage without arguments:

$ lndmanage
Running in interactive mode. You can type 'help' or 'exit'.
$ lndmanage listchannels forwardings
<output>
$ lndmanage exit

Commands that can be entered are the ones you would give as arguments.

Testing

Requirements are an installation of lnregtest and links to bitcoind, bitcoin-cli, lnd, and lncli in the test/bin folder.

Tests can be run with python3 -m unittest discover test from the root folder.

gRPC Reproducibility

Note that this repository ships prebuilt gRPC interfaces to communicate with LND. These libraries (located in lndmanage/grpc_compiled) contain code that is hard to review and should not be trusted. In order to check that the libraries indeed can be reproduced from the LND repository, one can run the build_grpc.sh script and observe differences via git.

Docker

If you prefer to run lndmanage from a docker container, cd docker and follow the README there.