Chapter 2. Getting Started

In this chapter, we will begin where most people start when encountering the Lightning Network for the first time—choosing software to participate in the LN economy. We will examine the choices of two users who represent a common use case for the Lightning Network and learn by example. Alice, a coffee shop customer, will be using a Lightning wallet on her mobile device to buy coffee from Bob’s Cafe. Bob, a merchant, will be using a Lightning node and wallet to run a point-of-sale system at his cafe, so he can accept payments over the Lightning Network.

Alice’s First Lightning Wallet

Alice is a longtime Bitcoin user. We first met Alice in Chapter 1 of Mastering Bitcoin,1 when she bought a cup of coffee from Bob’s cafe using a Bitcoin transaction. If you are not yet familiar with how Bitcoin transactions work or need a refresher, please read Mastering Bitcoin or the summary in Appendix A.

Alice recently learned that Bob’s Cafe just started accepting LN payments! Alice is eager to learn about and experiment with the Lightning Network; she wants to be one of Bob’s first LN customers. To do this, first, Alice has to select a Lightning wallet that meets her needs.

Alice does not want to entrust custody of her bitcoin to third parties. She has learned enough about cryptocurrency to know how to use a wallet. She also wants a mobile wallet so that she can use it for small payments on the go, so she chooses the Eclair wallet, a popular noncustodial mobile Lightning ...

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