6 reasons why you want to close a bitcoin lightning network channel

Posted about 2 months ago by LN+

Frequently Asked Question: Do I have to close my bitcoin lightning channels after some time?

Answer: No, you can keep channels open indefinitely. Many channels on the network are years old, and still working perfectly fine. There are 6 special situations when you want to close a channel listed below.

1. You absolutely NEED sats that are on your channel on chain instead. Examples for why:
  • The Bitcoin price went 10x, thus you want to put sats in cold storage.
  • You have to pay somebody on-chain.

2. Your peer went OFFLINE for a long time (9+ days), thus the channel is useless to receive or send. Also, if you both go offline, you may not be able to recover the sats in the channel. Don't be too hasty closing inactive channels, sometimes it takes a few days to fix a node.

3. You accumulated too many channels over time (100+), and your node is struggling to process all the traffic. This can happen on weaker hardware. Reducing channels fixes the problem.

4. You want to move your sats to a new node and you're not comfortable moving channel states files, or have no ability to do so. For example, when switching implementations (LND > CLN or vice versa).

5. You are going on a long sabbatical to a location without stable internet and/or electricity. Lightning nodes require to be online most of the time, unless you have a channel with a trusted node you agree with not to force-close you.

6. You're running a profit oriented routing node and a channel is not routing, but it is locking up funds (sats are on your side). Close and open to another node to make profit, unless you agreed to keep the channel open for a specific amount of time. You may also want to close & reopen to the same peer a larger channel if it was profitable.

If you can think of other reasons why you would want to close a bitcoin lightning network channel, please add a comment.

CRIXUS replied about 2 months ago

Maybe your partner has high fees and dont want to put your liquidity on his node because when you want recieve a payment it has high fees to receive


PEEVEDCHEF replied about 2 months ago

Node has exorbitantly high fees so you close channel to redeploy sats to another peer with lower, more reasonable fees.


carlslight replied about 2 months ago

A) Peer is unreliable. If a peer is often inactive or the channel is often disabled, then I close to avoid the costs of an automatic force close if a htlc get stucked. Often it is a problem of tor nodes. Moreover I analyze on amboss whether a peer is often included in force closes itself. Then I am afraid to be the next and thinking about coorp closing.

B) Fundamental changes in the fee strategy! If I have the balance on my side, I close the channel, because it is an too big experiment for me. Better to allocate the capital to nodes who know what they are doing. 


8DegreesWO replied about 2 months ago

LND auto force closes your channel... No idea why?.. This has happened to me many many times, it shows up as local forced close, expect i didn't initiate anything, and what is worse is when there are HTLC in play, each one of those is a transaction when closing! ie. more on-chain fees!!!

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