What is LN Node Ranking?

Posted about 1 month ago by LN+

LN+ has introduced the concept of Node Ranking to help quickly assess the connectedness and utility level of a node within the Lightning Network. In general, the higher the rank of a node, the more useful it is for another node to connect to it. Node levels can be compared to Google's PageRank, which is also a ranking between 0 and 10. The Node Ranking is also similar to the sophisticated LN BOS (Terminal Score).

Node Rank is calculated predominantly based on the capacity of nodes a given node is connected to. To a smaller degree, the formula also includes other public parameters available on the gossip network, and proprietary parameters available through LN+. Based on feedback, I intend to refine the Node Rank over time to be more precise and cover for special situations (ex. duplicate channels).

Node Rankings are also named after metals:
  1. Aluminium
  2. Iron
  3. Copper
  4. Mercury
  5. Titanium
  6. Tungsten
  7. Silver
  8. Gold
  9. Platinum
  10. Iridium

If you're a routing node you should aim for a Titanium (5) rank or higher. If you're a regular LN user, aim for a Mercury (4) rank. If you're using LN only ocasionally for small transactions (ex. tipping, chatting, podcasts, paying for content, etc.) you should be good with a Copper (3) node.

The easiest way to increase your Node Rank is to open channels as large as you can afford to nodes that are Titanium (5) or higher. However, opening multiple relatively large 2-3 M channels to several nodes will increase your Rank more than opening a single 10 M channel.

Connecting to a higher level node is not always the best strategy. Your choice depends on your goals. For example, if you're expecting to be a profitable routing node, you may need to look for a niche that other nodes haven't already filled. If you're a frequent user of the network, you will benefit from directly connecting to nodes you send and receive from regardless of the level of those nodes. Also, remember that connecting to lower Rank nodes is beneficial for the network overall as it decentralizes it and makes it more resilient against attacks or single node failures.

Node Rank is not meant to be a precise evaluation of LN nodes, mostly just a quick indicator that is hopefully useful for the community. Let me know what you think of it, and if you think it's worth keeping it around.

Photo Credit: Sergey Pesterev

thisiswhereyousendit replied about 1 month ago

Sorry but this ranking system is pretty mickey-mouse. On Terminal Web my channel is ranked 325 (and Lightningnetwork.Plus is 370) but here I'm not even at "regular user" status. I routed .15 btc yesterday alone...hardly the stats of a regular user hopeful. 

I guess the aim of this ranking system is to encourage more use of this website's platform. That's cool. Just don't put any stock in the rating it spits out.

LN+ replied about 1 month ago

Thanks for the comment! You're right. I revised the interpretation of ranks.

BTC_Freedom replied about 1 month ago

Nice work, thanks! 
It came to me, that it might be also useful to add Node rank into search/filter criteria? And/or also add lowest and highest participant's rank into Swaps info, so one can see it all in main page swaps overview and doesnt need to click and open details of swap. Thanks again! :)

SaylorMuwn replied about 1 month ago

Pretty awesome! Keep up the good work.

Would be cool if amount of daily traffic can also be displayed. 

TheStrongHODL replied about 1 month ago

Interesting.   Love seeing the site improvements.   Great work!

satsophone replied about 1 month ago

Where are the rankings displayed?  They are not appearing for me on any page I'm familiar with.

LN+ replied about 1 month ago

Fair question. I should've explained.

It's displayed on node profiles under the node's alias (large title). Also on the node index pages. Finally, it's on the Swaps when people apply.

I intentionally don't want to give this rank too much attention until it gained wide approval from the community.

satsophone replied about 1 month ago

D'oh! I confused you with amboss.space. Dang, I must be new to the internet.

Atari Basic replied about 1 month ago

Odd/interesting. I noticed that a node with half the capacity, half the channels, no ratings, history, or badges on this site has a higher rank than mine.

LN+ replied about 1 month ago

Atari Basic: It matters what nodes you are connected to.

Relatively Irrelevant replied 21 days ago

@LN+, thank you for this site and your contributions to the Lightning Network. Please consider this constructive feedback about the ranking system you've built, as well as your badges. While most of my examples are about me, I'm finding similar rankings and badges I would consider inconsistent. 

I'm a Rank 4 / Mercury Node with 24,500,000 sats and 30 channels. I have 15 :-) ratings and 0 :-( ratings. I'm verified, an opener, passionate, trustworthy, honourable, social, inquisitive, and generous.

Of my 30 open channels, my peers are:
  • x02 10 Iridium (avg 1,840,000,000 sats / 350 channels = 6,300,000 avg channel size)
  • x01 09 Platinum (avg 1,264,000,000 sats / 386 channels = 3,300,000 avg channel size)
  • x02 08 Gold (avg 238,000,000 sats / 121 channels = 2,000,000 avg channel size)
  • x05 07 Silver (avg 74,300,000 sats / 40 channels = 1,900,000 avg channel size)
  • x13 06 Tungsten (avg 36,600,000 sats / 24 channels = 1,300,000 avg channel size)
  • x03 05 Titanium (avg 49,100,000 sats / 34 channels = 1,400,000 avg channel size)
  •  me 04 Mercury (avg 24,500,000 sats / 30 channels = 815,000 avg channel size)
  • x01 04 Mercury (avg 24,300,000 sats / 28 channels = 890,000 avg channel size)
  • x01 03 Copper (avg 8,000,000 sats / 11 channels = 730,000 avg channel size)
  • x02 02 Iron (avg 3,500,000 sats / 6 channels = 625,000 avg channel size)

When compared to my single Mercury peer, my rank aligns well a the Mercury level. What appears inconsistent, however, is the Tungsten level. The average sats and channels for those at the Tungsten level are both lower than the sats and channels for the Titanium level. The average number of Tungsten channels is lower than both Titanium and Mercury. 

Granted, my sample size is small.

What confuses me is that as a 04 Mercury...
  • I have more sats than 8 nodes that are ranked higher than me
  • I have more channels than 12 nodes that are ranked higher than me
  • I have a larger average channel size than 5 nodes than are ranked higher than me
  • For 5 Tungsten nodes, I have more sats, channels, and avg channel size (all three are better)

You are likely comparing other metrics to determine your ranking. And I understand why you might not want to reveal what metrics you are measuring (to reduce nodes gaming your system). That's all fair and reasonable.

For example, you might measure how many channels were forced closed by a node. I have forced closed two channels. But in fairness, I waited more than two weeks for those offline nodes to restore service, and I commented in the swap chat asking the failed node if they will return before initiating a force close. If you do reduce rankings due to force closes, I feel like I'm being punished when I don't consider myself to be the dishonourable party.

Speaking of dishonourable, I've experienced swap participants who have closed their channels before the agreed channel duration, and yet they retain badges like Trustworthy and Honourable. 

Take @BMO (0262743de9531ad442fbe4e18a28f4f72814b840ada9ba2775010e6aad656fc50a) for example.  @BMO closed all 47 channels from 19 swaps on Nov 7, 2021. Most of the swaps @BMO joined were for one year agreements, yet @BMO closed all channels after only 45 days and still bears the Trustworthy and Honourable badges.

Perhaps you should have a process that dings a user for not honouring the agreed channel duration, while exempting nodes that wait more than one week before performing a force close.

I realize this was long and apologize. Again, I appreciate this site and service. Thank you.

Upleb replied 20 days ago

Love the way the site is developing on the whole.

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Lightning Network Node
Rank: 8 / Gold Node
Capacity: 295,353,684 SAT
Channels: 116