Bitcoin is the future of money, they say. And we’re not doubting that. But, while the Bitcoin network is great at making large payments that don’t need to be settled quickly, it’s too expensive for making everyday, small payments.
Enter the Lightning Network: a second-layer solution built on top of the Bitcoin network that allows anyone to send bitcoin to each other instantly, for near-zero fees. But to use Lightning, you need to have a Lightning node. And sure, you could use a custodial solution to connect to the network, where somebody else makes the Lightning payment on your behalf. You could put your trust in third-party manufacturers and buy a ready-made Lightning node like the Casa Node. But what’s the fun in that?
There’s a much better way—for your self-sovereignity and your budget.
This bitcoin wallet is easy to build and supports Lightning payments. Image: Decrypt.
It involves starting from scratch. By buying general computer parts and downloading the software yourself, you can create your own Bitcoin Lightning node. And, as long as the parts have not been interfered with (unlikely if they’re super common), and you go through the motions correctly, you will be able to make your own bitcoin payments, both normal ones (it’s a full Bitcoin node) and Lightning ones. And nobody can stop you. Not banks, governments, your parents: nobody.
On top of this, you’ll be contributing to the health of the Bitcoin network and keeping it running. “But won’t this be super difficult?” I hear you ask. Not at all. I even managed to put one together in a few days—for just $150 in parts—so you can too. Here’s how I did it.
DIY Bitcoin Lightning node: The building blocks
First things first, I needed to put the physical pieces together. The base of the project was to be a small computer, known as a Raspberry Pi, with a screen and some extra storage. To choose which parts, my first port of call was this website, which, if you scroll down, has a list…