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Proxy connections from a patched C-Lightning.

Removes routing onions (1300B) before HTLC transmission, receiver dynamically re-generates them.


  • Python >= 3.7

  • C-Lightning compiled with noencrypt_final.patch and gossip_disabled_and_300s_HTLC_timeout.patch applied.

  • Optional: jq for your system (for the helper scripts)

  • Build tools (below)

Build tools

On Debian/Ubuntu the following tools are required to compile C-lightning and lnproxy dependencies:

sudo apt install -y autoconf automake autotools-dev build-essential \
gettext git libgmp-dev libsodium-dev libsqlite3-dev libtool net-tools \
 pkg-config zlib1g-dev

On MacOS a similar toolset will be required, many of the above packages can be installed by the same names using the Homebrew package manager.

C-Lightning installation

Clone the C-Lightning branch below. This branch is based off master and includes two plugins by default:

  1. Lnproxy (this plugin)
  2. Sauron (fetches blocks from, no need for bitcoind on testnet)
git clone
cd lightning
git checkout lnproxy

# Setup and activate a virtualenv for the lightning project
# See [venv](#python3.7-virtual-environments-on-ubuntu/debian) section below for more info

# Install python requirements for C-Lightning and the two plugins
pip install --upgrade pip
pip install lnproxy
pip install -r requirements.txt
pip install -r plugins/sauron/requirements.txt

# Run script to get the correct version of the plugin from github that matches your pip installed version.
# This is required because pip can't easily install directly into your C-Lightning project plugin directory
. tools/

Follow the remaining compilation instructions for your OS as found at install C-Lightning making sure to follow the ./configure step using --enable-developer flag. We need this flag to disable gossip, minimising bandwidth used. If you've already compiled C-Lightning before on your system, the following sequence will likely work:

./configure --enable developer && make

Quick run, testnet, single local node:

Initial setup

# Let's start by sourcing the helper scripts
source contrib/

# Start up C-Lightning

# You can tail the logs in a second terminal window with
tail -f -n 50 /tmp/l1-testnet/log | cut -c26-

# Fund the wallet as usual, e.g.:
l1-cli newaddr
# Send tBTC to the address

Adding a node to connect with

Next we are going to add a node to the lnproxy routing table. We can set some variables to help us:

  1. LISTEN_PORT: the port you will listen for incoming connections from the remote node. Open this port in any firewall you have.
  2. REMOTE_PUBKEY: the remote node's pubkey
export LISTEN_PORT="<local_open_port>"

# Let's also export their pubkey for convenience
export REMOTE_PUBKEY="<their_node_pubkey>"  

Now we can add the node to the Lnproxy router and make the connection. Nodes added to the router are persisted across restarts and can be removed using the remove-node command (or deleting lightning_dir/router file):

# Add a remote node to lnproxy plugin router
l1-cli add-node <remote_pubkey>@<remote_host>:<remote_port> $LISTEN_PORT

# Make a connection to the remote node
l1-cli proxy-connect $REMOTE_PUBKEY

Funding a channel

After successful connection, we can fund a channel in the usual way:

# Open a private outbound channel with remote node
l1-cli fundchannel id=$REMOTE_PUBKEY amount=100000 feerate=10000 announce=false

# You can check the status of the channel with
l1-cli listfunds

Making a payment

After the channel reaches status CHANNELD_NORMAL, we can begin to make a payment, two different payment types shown below:

Invoice payment

# Pay a regular invoice. First obtain a bolt11 invoice out-of-band.
lcli pay <bolt11_invoice>

Spontaneous sends

To attempt a "spontaneous send" payment with encrypted message, use the "message" command added to C-Lightning by the lnproxy plugin:

# Create a message to send
export MESSAGE="$(openssl rand -hex 12)"     # Use a random message
# or 
export MESSAGE="write your own message here" # Use your own message

# Send the message + payment
l1-cli message <remote_pubkey> $MESSAGE 10000

# We can monitor the payment using waitsendpay command with the payment_hash returned from running the above command:
l1-cli waitsendpay <payment_hash>

The "message" RPC implements a keysend-like functionality: we know about the (final) recipient in our plugin routing table, even though C-Lightning doesn't know about them (no gossip exchanged via l2). This means we can send them a message encrypted with their pubkey (using ECIES where nonce=payment_hash[0:16]) and where only recipient can decrypt the preimage (sha256(decrypted_message).digest()).

See for more information on this.

Quick run, testnet, two local nodes:

Using the helper functions in the ~/src/lightning/contrib/ let you get set up faster. Run in approximately this sequence as necessary:

# Start 2x C-Lightning

# Add each node to the other node's router

The add_nodes command will echo the listening port that the remote node (or radio device e.g. fldigi-proxy) should connect in to to make an inbound connection

To make an outbound connection from node 1, use the proxy-connect command with the port your transport connection is listening on, e.g.:

# Now begin outbound connection from l1 to l2. If you are using alternative transport (e.g. fldigi), use the fldigi listening tcp_port

l1-cli proxy-connect $(l2-cli getinfo | jq -r .id)

The connection should occur automatically from here, you will need to fund the wallet and open a channel as normal.

After these commands have completed, you can move on to the payments or spontaneous sends sections to start making various payment types.

Full manual operation

See for a more manual approach not utilising the helper scripts.


Build errors related to libwally-core or jsmn or libbacktrace or libsodium

These projects are loaded as git submodules. Sometimes during a clone (with old versions of git?) they are not initialised and updated automatically. This can be done by running:

git submodule init
git submodule update

Python3.7 virtual environments on Ubuntu/Debian

Default python3 (python3.6) package does not include the required venv module by default in Debian or Ubuntu. Therefore installing python3.7-dev and python3.7-venv packages will still result in failure to create new venvs. The underlying system default python3 package must also be updated to include the venv component.

Therefore installing python3.7 on Ubuntu/Debian requires:

# Install python3-venv, then python3.7-dev and python3.7-venv packages 
sudo apt install -y python3-venv python3.7-dev python3.7-venv

# To make a new venv for a project, from the project directory:
python3.7 -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate



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