Setting up a Bitcoin Lightning Node

Note Feb 12 2019 – Things with lightning nodes are progressing very fast and it is hard for me to keep up with all the new versions Pierre is bringing out. So this guide I started December 14th 2018 is by far not accurate and up to date.

Maybe I will bring it up to date when I start working on my Lightning node again. I only used this to get one running on Testnet because I have no Bitcoin spare to actually join mainnet.

This is a guide about setting up a Lightning node for Bitcoin on MacOS. It is based on the original article by Pierre Rochard on Medium and can be found here.

1. about 300 GB of download bandwith
2. MacOS (High Sierra on my Macbook
3. about 7 Gb of diskspace or 300GB if you want the Bitcoin transaction index.

Let’s get started

Lightning Power Node Launcher

  1. Download the latest release of the Lightning Power Node Launcher: sure to check if there is a new version every now and then! Pierre is working hard to finetune everything and new releases with improvements are great to have! If he reads this he may consider putting in a version check!Keep pen and paper near because you might like to scribble down some things
  2. Open the app.
  3. Check the Bitcoin Data Directory and set it if you want it to be on an external drive (mine is).
  4. Click on Launch Bitcoin and let it sync. This is what their windows should look like:
  5. Launch LND, make sure the last message in the window matches this:
  6. If you already created an LND wallet on this computer, press the Unlock button. If you have not, click on the Create button. Please be sure to print out your seed mnemonic when prompted to do so!
  7. If you need to set a password be sure it needs to be minimal 8 characters (version 5.1.1 doesn’t tell you) 
  8. If you create a new wallet be sure to write down the password and the mnenomic  passphrase. 
  9. The print screen in the 5.1.1 only does a print screen and doesn’t print all words, copy and paste in texteditor and print and save)

Now to the next step; set up Zap Desktop!

Download Zap Desktop

Go to

Download the latest version

If you are on Windows, download the win32 .exe
If you are on macOS, download the darwin .dmg

Install and open Zap Desktop

Setup Zap Desktop

Select “Custom”

For each of the three fields, click the corresponding button in the Node Launcher to copy the text, and then paste it into Zap Desktop

Your connection details should look something like this;

Click Next

That’s it! You’re ready to go on Zap Desktop!

Next up, send a payment!

to be continued…..

December 15th update: So this is how I followed the instructions I found via Twitter and Github. The setup was a piece of cake and all I have to do now is wait for the node to synchronize the blocks. Not sure if I can do anything else yet or if I have to wait for the sync to complete. Since I love to be on the safe side here I decided to wait before starting the next phase.

At this time there is not much to earn from running a LN node as I learned during the last couple of days. Things might change in the future and because I have plenty of time I thought why not give it a go and see if I can get this running. With the instructions of Pierre Rochard it is actually just a few clicks away. Previous attempts from my side failed heavily.

December 17th update: With the help of Pierre I managed to get everything up and running. The caveats we found will be handled by Pierre in a new version. Minor things, nothing to worry about.

December 19th update: There are some things You need to do in a certain order here to make things work for Zal to function properly. I can’t remember exactly if it was something with the wallet of with Launch Bitcoin/Launch LND. I will need to test this but also remember Pierre telling me he was going to fix this is a new version. As I installed 5.1.1 the current release is 5.3.0 (Pierre is a busy boy!)


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