What to do with your Bitcoin and Lightning node

Increase your privacy — Connect your wallet to your node

The first thing you should do is connect your wallets to your node. When you open your wallet or plug your hardware wallet in, you are taking the xpub of your wallet and sending it to an electrum server. Your xpub is a dataset of your past, current, and future addresses. It does this so it can read your balances. Put another way, every time you looked at your wallet to see if number go up, you leaked all of your addresses, even the addresses you haven’t created yet, to an unknown third party who is running an electrum server.

Get a new wallet that supports full nodes

Most of you will need to change wallets for this. You’ll think it’s a pain but it’s probably for the best. Find a wallet that has full node support:

Desktop

Sparrow — Only works with on chain addresses, BIP 32, BIP 39, and hardware wallets.

Mobile

Phoenix — This is an on-chain and lightning wallet.

Desktop and Mobile

Electrum — Only works with on chain addresses, BIP 32, BIP 39, and hardware wallets.

Increase your privacy — Lookup addresses on your node

If you have ever made a transaction, odds are you have seen some kind of link that lets you view the transaction in the mempool or on a block explorer. They provide these links so you can see if your transaction is still pending and when it gets confirmed. It’s a useful feature, but some block explorers track your IP address or collect the metadata about what kind of device you’re using when you look at a certain address. Sure it can be any address, but let’s be honest, it’s statistically yours.

Click the Explorer icon to go to your node’s block explorer by Bitcoin Explorer
Source: Lopp tweet of this story

Increase your privacy and save some fees- use a mempool

Most nodes come with both mempools as well. Rather than going to mempool.space or blockstream.info, click on the tools bundled with your node. Mempool.space for example has the same interface but rather than querying their node and exposing data to them, you are sending that data to your own node. Some disclose this information, some don’t pay attention to it, but you should assume every address is being monitored. I wrote a detailed post on how to use a mempool here.

Mempool.space

Bonus: Don’t broadcast a transaction from your node

If you do want to take your privacy seriously, don’t broadcast a transaction from your node. Every node has their own mempool which means everyone has different pending transactions in the queue. If you consistently broadcast transactions from your node, all of those addresses can be linked back to your node with your IP address which may or may not be on clearnet, a VPN, or Tor.

  1. Create the transaction hex in your wallet
  2. Go to Blockstream on a VPN here or
  3. Dowload Tor then copy the Blockstream Tor v3 address below http://explorerzydxu5ecjrkwceayqybizmpjjznk5izmitf2modhcusuqlid.onion/tx/push
  4. Paste the transaction hex and broadcast it off of their node
Source: Blockstream

Open some Lightning channels

Some of the plug and play nodes have a wallet built in that you can interact with the Lightning network as well. Send some sats to it, click on any of the available wallet interfaces and start opening some channels.

  1. Connect to a peer that you’ll use a lot like Fold, River, etc
  2. Connect to a big routing hub peer
  3. Connect to a local Bitcoiner, friend, or family member who runs a node

Earn interest on those channels

One of the things you can do if you are not actively using your lightning channels, is to lease them out on Lightning Pool. This is a service where you can earn interest by letting others trustly use your channel capacity. This is something that is very useful in a high fee environment.

Lightning Terminal app

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Raymond Durk

Raymond Durk

Making shoes you love @atoms. Under caffeinated and over connected. MBA in Sustainability. Please consider the environment before printing this tweet.