How to calculate earnings?

Okay, so I have 6 channels open. Several inbound and outbound. I have a little over $2,000 USD worth of outbound liquidity.

I’ve left this alone for a little while now, and then I logged in today to check activity. I have questions now.

On the RTL app, under Lightning > Reports – I see a graph and chart over Routing Fees. There were 3 transactions today that have roughly 3,500 Sats in total fees. (Equal to roughly $2 USD)

The question, is who does this fee go to? Is it mine? Is this the chart that I should go to so I can calculate my returns?

Thank you.

  1. “Earning” with a node is a myth, stop falling into this “hopium” stage.
  2. Stop using USD, even if is as reference for you. Just stop think about its existence. We are living in Sat Standard, all is measured in sats or even msats (base for LN).
  3. With only 6 channels and maybe not well balanced liquidity, your node is not even capable of stabel routing. Only with a stable routing you will be able to receive some fees for routing.

Please start by reading the Guides section of this forum - you need more to learn about how LN works.
Here you have a dedicated post in Guides section with many resources to read/watch/learn




This is the second question I’ve asked here, and all I get is a pasted link telling me to go find the answer myself.

While I understand that you are under no obligation to answer these questions, it defeats the purpose of even having a forum if I can’t get basic questions answered.

I have read your previous comments about what was it, communism and getting something for nothing. I have plenty of outside investments, I make money, and the fact is, is there are fees for bitcoin, and someone is getting these fees. I’m just trying to understand what portion is mine. At the end of the day, my node is performing some measure of service, albeit one that is not paid very much. I already own bitcoin, I can’t spend it on groceries, so at this point, I’m just holding it. I figure I can put it to ‘some’ work operating on a node.

Again, I’m thankful that you are active in this community. I want to learn, I’ve watched, read for myself, everything I know so far came from me reading myself. If I ask a question, it’s because I haven’t found it elsewhere, and want it explained in a way that I relate to.

Answers like this aren’t answers.

And I give you credit on your points. I understand that hopefully, at one point in the future, goods and services won’t be pinned to the USD. But at this point, they still are. I can’t spend Sats or Bitcoin on normal stuff. (However, just a few weeks ago, I actually did purchase something with BTC and had it delivered to my door. Pretty cool.)

And since my original post, I have opened another 2 channels. It’s not much, but I am putting effort in here trying to get this going.

So you are lying yourself.
I live only using BTC because I want it and I do all I can to happen, not because I wait for for some god to say, “ok, guys, now you can start using it”.
I am tired of people wining that “I can’t pay my groceries with sats”… is because they are lazy and don’t do anything for adoption.
How many groceries stores you convince and help to accept BTC? Moms and pops shops, not stupid amazon and big shit retail chains.
Revolution starts from the bottom not from the top.

I get what you’re saying, but talking to me like that will not help either of us.

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Bitrefill is the best for this I have found right now which means moving money back into fiat for local spends.

It would be cool to encourage local vendors to accept lightning but it’s still a huge uphill battle technically. The taxation alone would be really hard to calculate.

Umbrel is a HUGE leap forward but convincing a farmers market stall or mom + pop shop to accept BTC-LN is going to be a tough sell.

Hi @chris, I’m currently on a similar journey here… Trying to understand how to set up a good routing node and compete for routing fees. Based on multiple feedback, this is not a very profitable business right now but I’m trying to breakeven at least.

RTL and ThunderHub will show you routing revenue, i.e. the fees that you got with each forward transaction. In theory, by lowering your fees in each of your channels, you are able to forward more transactions. By increasing the fees in each channel, you earn more in each forwarded transaction but you may see a lower number of transactions forwarded through your node. The challenge is to find the sweet spot and achieve the maximum total revenue, optimizing number of transactions vs fees charged per transaction.

On the other side, with more transactions forwarded, liquidity will be drained from your channels. You will then need to rebalance liquidity in your channels and you will incur some costs to do so.

The big challenge is to find a pricing policy (how many fees should I charge for each transaction in each channel?) that will recover your costs to rebalance and hopefully take a profit.

This is not too much but I hope it helps you in your journey.


You earned that 3500 sats. If you route payments consistently you will earn and accumulate more sats. What 1 sat worth today might not be what it will be worth tomorrow, next week or next month.

The only problem is figuring out the cost of rebalancing your channels. Once you factor it in, you probably are not making anything unless you have really big connected channels

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