Lost about 3m sats when closing a channel

A few month back I opened a channel with 3M sats and then did a loop in to move funds to the other side to balance the channel.

Since then most of the funds on my side also moved over to the other side. Yesterday by mistake I closed that channel and only 30,846sats arrived in my BTC wallet instead the 3,000,000sats.

I thought closing a channel automatically transfers all my sats back. Apparently not, expensive lesson but never mind.

Just want to know what is the correct procedure to close a channel when some or all of my funds are on the other side and hopefully this will help others not to make the same mistake.

First of all, you did not lose any sats. Your sats are still in your LN channels, until you make a payment with them.
Secondly, I see that you do not know the basics of how LN works.
I wrote several guides in the dedicated Guides section of this forum, specially for new users, to start reading and learning before doing any crazy shit with their node. There you can find a special post with all documentation, tutorials, videos etc about LN nodes.

Third: when you do a loop, you move the funds from one channel to another one. You answer yourself to your own question!
If you take out some sats from a channel and send them back but into another channel where you have more “space”, is not logic that your sats are not lost, are back to your node?

When you close the channel A (from which you loop out) is not normal that you will get less sats? You will get exactly what you left in that channel. You can’t get what is not yours… The sats are in your other channel B, where you did the loop in. If you close that one, then you will get more sats in your onchain wallet.

When you close a channel you are NOT “losing” sats… you only get what is yours.


This happened to me as well. But you only get back your current local balance when you close a channel, not the original opening balance.

This is because if any payments (or looping) were done, then part of the balance has moved to another of your channels. Or to onchain balance in case of a loop out.

Also, you must have done a loop out rather than a loop in. Since you opened the channel all liquidity must have been local and available to a loop out, not loop in.

There is a total available balance in umbrel. It’s the sum of all your lightning and onchain balance. It remains (almost) the same during rebalancing, looping, routing payments.


yeah you are correct, I just re-watched the video von BTC Sessions I followed back then and it was a “loop out” what I did, not a “loop in”.

Thanks for all the useful guides you made. Very helpful.

The reason why I thought I lost almost 3M sats is because after closing the channel I only saw a transaction from LN to the bitcoin wallet with the small balance which was on the local side about (30k sats).

The total balance on my node seems about right, not missing much apart from some transaction fees perhaps but I still don’t see a transaction of the almost 3M sats, so I’m still confused how the money came back to me.

It would be a routing / forward.

Wallet of Satoshi is the out node… And your 3M went to one or more in nodes.

Don’t look to the Umbrel dashboard total balance. That is confusing.
Look in Thunderhub, the main screen is the best way to know where are your sats:

Also on the same page, bellow you have the liquidity report, where it says total inbound/outbound and something that many users ignore: commit fees.
Also sometimes you have funds that are in “transit” in pending HTLCs, those also affect your main balance (you will see it up and down all the time when you have a pending HTLC).

Think about your LN node as an abacus, your sats will always be the same amount, only that are moving on both sides of a channel.

Your loop was simple: you sent out 3M sats through a channel and you get them back into another channel (where you had more inbound space). Now when you will close that channel instead of 30k sats you will get 3M sats.