Instructions: Incoming Bitrefill thor lightning channel capacity

Thor Lightning Channel is a product offered by Bitrefill, which allows you to create large incoming capacity from Bitrefill towards your own Umbrel Lightning node. This is useful if you want to get paid on LN, you have customers who want to pay you for products, or you just want to create incoming capacity to balance your LN node.

The tricky part is that since your Umbrel node is protected behind Tor (unrelated to Thor), Bitrefill can’t easily connect to it without you allowing it first. So here are the instructions on how to do it:

  1. Naturally you need to have your Umbrel fully synced and running with a Lightning node.
  2. Within your Umbrel go to App Store and download the Ride The Lightning (RTL) app.
  3. Buy a Thor Lightning Channel from Bitrefill. (Optionally pay with LN if you have outgoing capacity.)
  4. Get your Lightning Address from your Umbrel node. It’s available by clicking the ••• icon in the top right area under the Lightning sidebar nav. And provide it during checkout.
  5. Now go to your RTL. Open Lightning sidebar nav / Peers/Channels sub nav / Peers tab and click on Add Peer and add Bitrefill’s node as a peer: 030c3f19d742ca294a55c00376b3b355c3c90d61c6b6b39554dbc7ac19b141c14f@
  6. Now just wait and Bitrefill will automatically open a channel to you.
  7. If not, write to support and they will provide you with a correct peer to connect to (if the above address is obsolete).

What you can expect after you get the incoming capacity is that your newly created incoming capacity will be rebalanced by other LN nodes and it will be quickly filled up, emptying your other channels. This is likely because Bitrefill’s nodes have a lot of outgoing capacity, because everybody is trying to pay them for their services, and less outgoing capacity. So your newly created empty channel towards them is very valuable and worth the routing fees you earn during this rebalancing process.

If you try it out, please correct me if any step is unclear or incorrect.


I tried this as it seemed like a great idea. I connected to Bitrefill before buying the channel though, to avoid any errors if Bitrefill would try to connect immediately.

However, it’s impossible for me to use my channel. It’s my only channel and it’s a private channel. The invoices I am generating do NOT include routing hints, which make them unusable. The issue seems to be with LND: I tested it directly with
docker exec lnd lncli addinvoice --private
from the command line, and the generated invoice did not include routing hints.
There seem to be lots of errors in lnd:

Unable to retrieve chan status for ... edge not found

I don’t know if this is caused to neutrino or something else. Maybe I should open an issue with LND?

Wait… it’s your ONLY channel? I don’t think you can route with a single channel.

I don’t want to route, I just want to receive and send.

I see. Did you intentionally open a private channel with them? Could being private be the reason why other nodes you’re trying to send from can’t find this channel to send you money?

I have been using their incoming channel I bought through their website for about a week. Works pretty good as I also have an outbound to ACINQ. Ben from BTCSessions is awesome.
I have some additional sats I can use to set up another public channel if anyone wants to connect, direct message me.
I’m primitive in my SSH usage, but learning to rebalance that way, maybe even open a channel with sats from both sides so it’s immediately balanced.

I opened a channel with 20.000 Sats. Very bad. how to close this channel and open a better channel with 500.000 Sats? If I want to open a second channel Umbrel refuses: Lower amount or increase confirmation target. What can I do
Please help.

If you just opened the channel, you have to wait for 1 confirmation before your Bitcoin change returns to your wallet so you can open the next channel.

You could close the old channel with 20K. But perhaps wait until the on-chain fees are low. This weekend.

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Many thanks for help :slight_smile:

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