๐ŸŒŸMicroNode (Early Access)

What is a MicroNode?

MicroNode is an innovative service designed to simplify the setup and management of a Lightning node, requiring zero technical proficiency from users. This empowers individuals to assert sovereignty over their assets and digital identity within the Lightning Network, fostering greater adoption and advancing the concept of self-custody to new heights.

MicroNode entails the installation and utilization of several key components:

  • Lightning Network Daemon (lnd): This software serves as the backbone for Lightning Network nodes, facilitating the seamless routing of transactions across the network.

  • Taproot Assets Daemon (tapd): Implementing the Taproot Assets Protocol, tapd empowers the issuance of assets on the Bitcoin blockchain.

  • Taproot Assets Hub (TAHub): Acting as an intermediary, TAHub facilitates communication between lnd, tapd, and Nostr clients/apps, enabling the exchange of information.

MicroNode, at its core, offers:

  • Interoperable Sovereign Nostr Identity: Providing users with a seamless and sovereign identity experience within the Nostr ecosystem.

  • Effortless Transactions and Payments: Users can seamlessly conduct transactions and payments in Bitcoin and/or Taproot Assets with external applications.

  • Liquidity Provision on Lightning Network: By participating in the Lightning Network, MicroNode users can capture Annual Percentage Rates (APR) by providing liquidity.

  • Unlocking Diverse Use Cases: MicroNode opens up a multitude of possibilities for both web2 and web3 applications, broadening the scope of potential functionalities.

Why MicroNode?

The Lightning Network marks a significant leap forward for Bitcoin, serving as a Layer 2 solution that enables swift and secure transactions. However, despite its potential, a large portion of users opt for custody Lightning solutions, with only a small fraction taking on the responsibility of running their own Lightning Node to attain self-custody over their assets.

This low adoption of self-custodial practices can be attributed to the challenges involved in setting up, overseeing, and maintaining Lightning Nodes.

At present, achieving self-custody on the Lightning Network necessitates two key components: Setup and Management of nodes.

The end-to-end setup and management process entails tasks such as:

  • Selecting Software: Choose a Lightning Network implementation to run on your computer or server. Popular options include LND (Lightning Network Daemon), c-lightning, and Eclair.

  • Installation: Install the chosen Lightning Network software on your computer or server. This usually involves downloading the software and following the installation instructions provided by the developers.

  • Configuration: Configure your Lightning Network node by setting up parameters such as network connection settings, channel liquidity, and security settings. You'll typically generate a wallet address for your node and set up a secure way to store your private keys.

  • Syncing with the Blockchain: If you're running a Bitcoin Lightning Node, you'll need to sync your node with the Bitcoin blockchain. This process involves downloading and verifying the entire blockchain history, which can take some time and requires sufficient storage space.

  • Opening Channels: To start participating in the Lightning Network, you'll need to open payment channels with other nodes. This involves funding the channels with a certain amount of BTCs and establishing a connection with another node on the network.

  • Maintaining Node: Regularly update your Lightning Network software to ensure you have the latest features and security patches. Monitor the health of your node, manage your channel liquidity, and stay connected to the network to effectively participate in Lightning transactions.

However, this level of required technical proficiency poses a significant barrier to widespread adoption, as many individuals lack the necessary skills or motivation to undertake such responsibilities.


To tackle these problems, NostrAssets is thrilled to introduce MicroNode - an easy-to-use solution that lets you set up your own Lightning Node and Channel in just a few clicks, abstracting all complexities from end users. Plus, managing them is going to be as simple as ABC.

In the initial phase, MicroNodes will offer fundamental functionalities, including the ability to hold Bitcoin on a self-custody basis (Taproot Assets to be supported in the future), open channels with NostrAssets, and deposit/withdrawal of assets into/from the LN Exchange. As we progress, MicroNodes will evolve to incorporate a rich array of decentralized applications and features. These enhancements are designed to significantly boost user engagement and incentivize ownership and management of MicroNodes.

This evolution parallels the growing necessity for individuals to establish bank accounts or utilize digital wallets in the Web 2.0 era, and it is pivotal as it marks the beginning of our journey towards simplifying self-custody nodes on the Lightning Network, making them user-friendly and hassle-free.


๐Ÿ’กMore About MicroNode

Is MicroNode a โ€œrealโ€ Lightning Node?

Micronode is a genuine, independent Lightning node that operates on your cloud. It doesn't necessitate running another Lightning node at home or on a separate cloud service. It also isn't a custodial wallet; you retain complete control over your funds.


Is MicroNode trustless?

MicroNode operates in a trustless manner as the funding transaction is executed on-chain for any opening of a Lightning channel.

On a higher level, by using MicroNode, you are trusting us with your nodeโ€™s uptime, data, networking, and more. Next, we will explain what we can and canโ€™t see about your MicroNode.


What we canโ€™t see on your MicroNode?

We have no visibility into any data regarding your Lightning Network node. This includes details such as your node's public key, peers, channels, balance, or transactions. Since we lack access credentials to your node, there is no method for us to obtain this information. All peer-to-peer communication is routed through Tor, meaning we solely observe your node connecting to Tor entry nodes, without identifying your actual peers. Consequently, your node blends seamlessly with others on the network, ensuring your usage of MicroNode remains anonymous.

While we are developing features and products that may necessitate knowledge about your node (such as your public key), any services requiring such information will be strictly opt-in. You retain full control over the data you choose to share with us.


What we can see on your MicroNode?

At an infrastructure level, we have visibility into basic information about your node, including its settings, version, and connecting IP address. This data is necessary for applying appropriate policies to our edge router. We solely use IP addresses for whitelisting and rate limiting purposes, and do not track them for any other reasons. Although your Lightning nodes are connected to our Bitcoin full nodes, we do not track on-chain activity, nor do we have any intention to do so.

In summary, your node remains inaccessible to us. However, trust remains essential for utilizing our service. We prioritize user privacy and are committed to enhancing the Lightning Network without compromising your confidentiality.


What did we change and add to the technical infrastructure to make it possible?

We operate all servers within a private network, with only an edge router exposed to external connections. None of our Lightning node APIs are directly accessible from the internet. Servers hosting Lightning nodes prohibit human logins, and we've removed SSH and other remote access methods. Additionally, all backups are encrypted and replicated for redundancy.

Macaroons:

To enhance security, we've implemented the stateless-init feature. With stateless-init, macaroons are never written to disk. Instead, the node owner will have to approve the admin.macaroon file to be called out in the communication between the Lightning node and our service. As a result, we do not have access to your macaroon, and your macaroon data remains secure.

Nostr Signing:

We have integrated Nostr signing with private and public keys for:

  • Authentication: Nostr private and public keys provide a means for verifying the identity of servers and clients involved in the communication.

  • Encryption: Data transmitted between the client and server are encrypted via NIP-04, ensuring that it cannot be intercepted and read by unauthorized parties. This protects sensitive information, such as login credentials, personal data, and financial details, from being exposed during transmission

  • Integrity: Nostr keys include mechanisms to ensure the integrity of data exchanged between the client and server. This prevents tampering with transmitted data, guaranteeing that it remains unchanged throughout the communication process


What happens if the MicroNode service is no longer operational or ceases operations?

If the MicroNode service is no longer operational or ceases operations overnight, your funds will remain secure, but you'll lose the ability to conduct any transactions.

In such an extreme scenario where the MicroNode service disappears, you'll need to force close your channels (a function that we will add in the near future). The MicroNode will then unilaterally close your channels, and after a delay of approximately 720 blocks (roughly 5 days), your funds will be returned to the blockchain.

There will also be a recovery option for such a scenario. (coming soon)

However, for any other issues, bugs, or problems of any nature, refrain from force-closing your channels. Instead, reach out to our support team via our Telegram channel. We're here to assist you promptly and effectively.

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