Edit October 11th, 2019: an update reduced fees up to 44x.
Over the last couple of months, the Lightning Network attracted a lot of attention and many people made their first payments. We are all eager to find the products and services that allow us to learn about and experiment with Lightning. Wallets are at the forefront in this search.
As of today, you can make non-custodial Lightning payments using Muun. It requires zero channel configuration: all you need to do is make sure you have bitcoins in your wallet and scan the Lightning invoice you want to pay. Muun will automatically recognize it as an off-chain invoice and guide you all the way through the payment.
Underneath a super easy payment flow, a submarine swap is occurring. Submarine swaps allow users holding on-chain bitcoins to pay off-chain invoices through a swap provider. The swap provider doesn't have custody of your funds at any moment.
This technology was created by Olaoluwa Osuntokun and Alex Bosworth from Lightning Labs. Submarine swaps have been very well received in the community, with people listing them among the most innovative features in the Lightning Network.
You will still have your funds in one single wallet in Muun, and the whole payment process is the same as an on-chain payment, except for two differences: 1) most payments will be done instantly 2) different fees will appear in your transaction detail.
Your off-chain invoice will be paid instantly, except for very particular cases. Although there’s still an on-chain transaction involved in the swap, confirmations won’t be required in the vast majority of the cases, so the Lightning invoice will be paid instantly.
In your payment detail, you will see two different fees: 1) “Lightning fee” are the routing costs of the off-chain component of your payment, and 2) “Swap fee”, includes the first on-chain transaction to the swap provider.
So far, the market has been experimenting with trade-offs between usability and non-custodianship. The first Lightning wallets gave up usability, in terms of channel configuration, in exchange for non-custodianship. The more recent wallets sacrificed non-custodianship in return for zero channel configuration.
In this implementation, the trade-off is in costs since transactions still pay for an on-chain fee. In talks with users, we learnt that the current motivation for paying in Lightning is to learn about and support the technology. Therefore, we thought this was a reasonable trade-off for the first implementation. Edit October 11th, 2019: an update reduced fees up to 44x.
At Muun we are working hard to release a full Lightning wallet: non-custodial, with a great user experience, and cheap and fast transactions. Because Lightning is in its early days, it will take some time until we reach there. We are okay with sacrificing some aspects, as long as the overall experience is good and we do not compromise on our core values such as non-custodianship.
We are happy to provide you with a simple way of paying via Lightning in a trustless way since the early days. We’ll keep working hard on bringing a great non-custodial Lightning wallet for everyone.
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