We’ve been getting quite a few DMs recently asking us how to use the lightning network to receive and send Bitcoin. Instead of responding to each message, we’ve decided to do a completely beginner-friendly step-by-step guide on how to receive and send bitcoin over the lightning network. The reader will find that using the lightning network is actually quite easy and less involved than using traditional fiat payment methods.
What is the lightning network?
The lightning network is a second layer protocol built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. It enables fast and low fee transactions by creating a network of payment channels between all lightning users, which allows them to transact trustlessly without having to record every transaction on the blockchain. This results in faster transaction settlement with negligible fees, making it an ideal option for everyday payments.
Getting your bitcoin lightning wallet
So the first step is to download a lightning enabled Bitcoin wallet. Some examples of lightning wallets include Wallet of Satoshi, Blue Wallet, Muun Wallet, and Phoenix Wallet. For this guide we will be using Wallet of Satoshi as it’s the most beginner friendly.
Go to your app store on your phone and look for Wallet of Satoshi and download it. Or you can download it from their website here: https://www.walletofsatoshi.com/
Setting up your lightning wallet
Once you load the Wallet of Satoshi app, press the green start button. You’ll want to set up your wallet with an email address so that you can access your bitcoin on multiple devices. So once you enter your email address, Wallet of Satoshi will send you two words to your email to confirm your registration. Enter those words and now your lightning wallet is set up!
Receiving a bitcoin transaction
Ideally, you would have some bitcoin in a regular bitcoin wallet or on an exchange. However, if you’re completely new to bitcoin, Bitcoin Majlis will send you some sats, which is the smallest denomination of bitcoin, equivalent to 100 millionth of a bitcoin.
So on the bottom of the Wallet of Satoshi app, there are two buttons, ‘Receive’ and ‘Send’. Press ‘Receive’.
You now have two options: Either transfer bitcoin that you have to your lightning wallet, or send us a message and we’ll send you some sats.
Option 1: Sending your btc to your lightning wallet
If you have some bitcoin already, then you’ll just need to transfer it to your lightning wallet. After pressing ‘Receive’, press on the bitcoin symbol on the bottom. See screenshot below.
Then copy your ‘On-Chain’ address and paste it into your regular bitcoin wallet or exchange. Once you’ve received your btc on-chain, Wallet of Satoshi automatically converts those btc to be “lightning-ready”, so you can now send them over the lightning network!
Option 2: Receiving btc from Bitcoin Majlis
So if this is your first time using btc, you may not have any btc at all to begin with to actually use the lightning network. So feel free to send a message to Bitcoinmajlis@gmail.com or message us on twitter (@Bitcoinmajlis or @Mbitcoiner) and we’ll send you a few sats.
To receive sats from us, after pressing ‘Receive’ in the app, you’ll see your lightning address is displayed. You can either press ‘Copy’ to copy your Lightning URL, or you can press on your randomly assigned email-like address below it to copy it. See screenshot below:
Once you’ve copied your lightning address, paste it in an email or message to us, and we’ll be happy to send you a few sats. After we’ve sent you some sats, you’ll instantly see a number of sats displayed in your wallet app.
Congratulations, you’ve made your first lightning transaction!
Sending a bitcoin transaction
So now that you have some sats in your lightning wallet, let’s send them to someone.
Go to https://www.orphans-of-uganda.org/donate/, which is a Muslim orphanage in Uganda that accepts donations using the lightning network. On that page, click on ‘QR-Code’ and this will take you to a page managed by a lightning network service called Machankura, which allows Africans to transact in btc over the lightning work using text messages.
Once you’re on that page, enter in an amount of sats, and press ‘GET INVOICE’. You’ll be shown a receive address that you can copy into your Wallet of Satoshi app. Alternatively, you can press ‘OPEN IN WALLET’ which will open up your Wallet of Satoshi app and will have your transaction ready for you to confirm. Press ‘Send’ in your Wallet of Satoshi app.
Congratulations! You have now sent your first transaction over the lightning network!