In June, we unveiled Greenlight to developers and open-sourced its client repository. After several months of gathering feedback and conducting additional rounds of testing, we are announcing Greenlight is officially available for commercial use worldwide.
Greenlight is our scalable, non-custodial Lightning-as-a-Service, or LaaS, solution that offloads the complexities of operating a Lightning node to Blockstream experts while keeping keys in the user's control for greater security. For Lightning developers, this not only reduces the risk and liability of holding user funds but frees up resources that would otherwise go to node operations—so that you can focus on your business and create the best app possible.
Simplifying Lightning Operations
When it comes to Lightning, users and developers are often faced with a trade-off between convenience and self-custody. Custodial solutions are easy to use and offer a quick onboarding experience but lack basic security and privacy guarantees for users. Non-custodial solutions, while secure and private, require more technical and operational expertise and costs.
The challenge here is to remove this barrier to entry without compromising on security, performance, or functionality.
Greenlight provides this.
Greenlight reimagines the Lightning node by splitting it into smaller components that run separately. The Lightning implementation that Greenlight runs, Core Lightning, with its leanness and modularity, enables us to keep all operations involving the keys performed exclusively in the signer, separate from the rest of the node. This allows us to run the signer on the user device while the remainder of the node and all its operational needs, runs on Blockstream infrastructure.
The signer is built on the Validating Lightning Signer (VLS) project for secure full end-to-end verification, ensuring that only authorized clients can initiate operations touching funds, not the operator of the infrastructure or a potential attacker gaining access to the infrastructure.
This is similar to how hardware wallets operate today: the user has a client interface and signer, while the wallet provider runs the actual Bitcoin node that connects to the rest of the network. We employ the same system where only the user-controlled components can initiate payments and sign invoices, with Blockstream running the resource-consuming node as efficiently as possible.
Building with Greenlight
For businesses building on Lightning, juggling app development in a highly competitive market while simultaneously having to manage Lightning node operations can be a challenge. By offloading labor-intensive node operations to Blockstream and integrating Greenlight with just a few API calls, companies can save on costs and free up valuable time to focus on meeting the needs of their users.
Furthermore, by choosing to go non-custodial, developers avoid the fiduciary liability of holding user funds, as well as the costs of regulatory and compliance requirements.
Some of the other key features and benefits that Greenlight can offer businesses and developers are as follows:
- Trustless and self-custodial: Remove the risk of third-party custody and store keys within your own infrastructure or directly on the user's device.
- Managed nodes, available on-demand or around-the-clock: Flexible Lightning services with enterprise-grade reliability through Core Lightning, all without the need for devops.
- Flexible liquidity management: Integrate your own Lightning Service Provider (LSP) to earn routing fees or opt for any of our partner LSPs (e.g., Breez SDK) to facilitate sending and receiving Lightning payments within your app.
- Cost-effective and scalable: Core Lightning's lightweight memory footprint enables Greenlight to provision nodes efficiently to as many users as your business demands and allows us to pass savings on to you.
- No walled gardens: Automatically stay up-to-date and compliant with the Lightning protocol specifications and, if desired, offboard your nodes effortlessly to your self-hosted infrastructure.
For real-world working implementations of Greenlight, see the all-new Blockstream Green wallet (Lightning functionality currently in beta) and the in-market Breez SDK. By working closely with both teams, we were able to verify and improve Greenlight's overall stability and incorporate those valuable learnings into its full release.
Accessing Greenlight Today
Greenlight is currently accessible with self-service certificates in the Greenlight Developer Console (GDC), which helps you run your day-to-day operations and access API keys.
In the true spirit of Bitcoin and to encourage the growth of the non-custodial Lightning options, Greenlight offers a generous free plan designed to empower hobbyists, enthusiasts, and small businesses. The free plan allows developers to deploy up to 1,000 on-demand nodes, with each node designed to activate and remain on while in use by an end-user.
For enterprises with higher volumes, we offer custom pricing plans that expand the node limits and provide uptime and availability guarantees. You can contact us on the Greenlight site or by email to learn more.
Finally, if you have general questions or would like to discuss Greenlight with the broader Lightning community, we encourage you to join us on Discord in the #greenlight channel or on the Build On L2 community developer page.
For further announcements and Greenlight releases, subscribe to the official Blockstream blog below.