[Lightning-dev] Lightning Network Protocol Suite Diagram - Request for feedback

René Pickhardt r.pickhardt at googlemail.com
Tue Apr 6 17:23:34 UTC 2021

Dear fellow Lightning Developers,

as you all probably know Andreas, Roasbeef and I are working on writing the
book "Mastering the Lightning Network" and I am happy to say that there has
been quite some progress over the last 18 months. In Particular it lead to
a diagram of the Lightning Network Protocol Suite which is the reason I am
sending this email. We would love to have your feedback and criticism (not
on my little design skills but on the content!). You can find the diagram


As a Wikipedia Contributor I shared the current Version on Wikimedia
commons where the Diagram can easily be updated but the link will stay the
same as they also allow version control of files. Eventually I am happy to
open a PR and add this to BOLT 0 or the Readme of the lightning-rfc. But
first we would welcome and encourage your feedback and discussion.
Especially the naming of some layers are somewhat novel but also the labels
for the boxes and the geometry and semantics of the boxes themselves.

To give you some context: As you know the BOLTs are somewhat linked and
intermixed. For example BOLT2 describes the channel state machine with the
HTLCs which is mainly needed for routing, BOLT 07 is named gossip routing
though the main onion routing is happening in BOLT 04, ... I am not saying
that such things would be wrong. However I made the experience that those
iterdependencies can sometimes be a bit confusing when introducing the
protocol to new people.

Consequently this lead to plenty of internal discussions which we concluded
by deciding that we need an architecture diagram for the Lightning Network.
After a couple internal iterations we believe it is time to present our
current diagram to the community and hope to get even more feedback before
we `fix` it and use it also as a guide for some of the chapters in the
book. You can see a part of our discussions and previous versions on github

Also please note that BOLT 03 and BOLT 5 which is the Bitcoin stuff is
currently not part of the diagram at all.

with kind Regards Rene

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