Thor: Lightning Channel Opening Service

As the Lightning Network grows to more than 500 BTC in capacity, we are doing our best to take advantage of its capabilities and offer utilities our customers and Bitcoiners can take advantage of. 

Today we would like to unveil Thor, a new service that allows you to open channels with our well-connected Lightning node, on demand, with custom capacities (300,000 to 16,000,000 sats).

The Lightning Network is a “second-layer technology” on top of Bitcoin, allowing for payments to happen instantly and with near-zero fees. 

What is Thor?

This service will let the customer get an empty lightning channel opened to them from Bitrefill’s node, on the Lightning network. Now anyone can now pay for, or gift, the ability to have a channel opened to a Lightning wallet in order to receive payments over Lightning at any time.

Why do I need Thor?

Initially, receiving payments on the Lightning network can be tricky. You need to have a channel opened, which means you need to have bitcoin loaded into your Lightning wallet, but to receive Lightning payments you need to have inbound capacity. This is usually solved by manually asking someone to open a channel to you, or to open a channel yourself and make some outgoing payments, which would allow you to receive. But it’s nice to be able to receive coins on Lightning before you can spend them!

What are the limitations?

The channel is guaranteed to be kept open on our side for 30 days, potentially longer if there’s activity on it. The reason for this limitation, and why this service comes at a cost is that opening an empty channel requires us to put the bitcoin in it and keep them there, and frankly — we’re a startup and don’t have infinite bitcoin :)

Give Lightning with Lightning — Or Dogecoin if you so prefer!

You can pay with any of the supported payment methods: from your Bitrefill account, with regular Bitcoin, with Lightning, with your Coinbase balance, or with any of the 4 other currencies we support: Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash and Dogecoin.

What can it be useful for?

If someone’s looking to receive bitcoin, as tips or other earnings this is a quick and easy tool to get started. But if you’re looking to open a business selling things online for example, one of the larger channels will be good to get you going. Bitrefill’s node is highly interconnected in the Lightning network.

Can I open a channel for someone else?

Yes! Once you’ve made the purchase you’ll receive a special link with instructions for how to open the channel. You can share this link with anyone — a friend or a stranger on Twitter. They can then use it with instructions to get the channel opened to them. Currently we have instructions and integrations in place with LND (command-line client) and with the Bitcoin Lightning Wallet for Android. We’re eager to get this supported by all major Lightning implementations.

Ride the Lighting in Four Easy Steps

We want to make it easy for users to start earning funds into their Lightning wallet in the simplest possible way. Now it’s as easy as downloading a wallet and scanning a QR code!

Step 1) Install Bitcoin Lightning Wallet from Google Play

Step 2) Save mnemonic phrase to a safe place!

Step 3) Navigate to ‘Open a new channel’ and tap on the QR code on the top right corner of the app.

Step 4) Proceed to scan the QR code on the Thor channel-opening Service page provided after buying a new incoming channel

LND users with command line access can simply copy & paste the script to the command line
You will be prompted to accept an incoming channel, press OK and the channel will be pending until it reaches 6 confirmations

Once the channel is active you are set to receive payments through Lightning!

Want an Android user to try out Lightning without first buying any bitcoin?Click here to buy them an incoming channel

Bitrefill makes it possible for people around the world to live on cryptocurrencies with mobile top ups in over 160 countries, and vouchers for travel, video games, restaurants, entertainment, and more using Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash, and Dogecoin. For quicker access to purchasing top ups and vouchers, download the Android and iPhone apps.

Start browsing Bitrefill’s extensive list of eGifts! »

It’s now possible to live on crypto! Help us spread the word ❤️