Assessing the Best Self-Custody Lightning Wallet in Real-World Conditions
Assessing the Best Self-Custody Lightning Wallet in Real-World Conditions

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By Ronald Tech

Understanding the Test Objective

Conducting field testing of self-custodial Lightning wallets is akin to embarking on a quest to find the Holy Grail. In Zimbabwe, where the use of these wallets is sparse, the challenge is somewhat magnified. Anita Posch, a celebrated Bitcoin educator and author, courageously ventures to unearth the most dependable tools for the local populace, armed with the noble intention of rendering Bitcoin accessible to ordinary users, making payments a breeze. Posch’s unwavering commitment to evaluating the offerings firsthand is emblematic of her dedication to quality and reliability.

Experiencing Evolving Landscape

In 2023, only two self-custody Lightning wallets – Breez and Phoenix – were available. However, in the current year, Posch’s exhaustive assessment expanded to encompass more alternatives: Blixt, Mutiny, Green, Zeus, and Phoenix. With each solution undergoing substantial transformation, Posch encountered the unpredictable landscape of technological evolution, surmounting challenges and embracing newness as she sought to render an honest verdict.

Overcoming Adversity in Set-Up

Before venturing into rural terrain, Posch meticulously established the wallets and initiated a Lightning payments channel in Harare, bracing herself for anticipated internet signal hurdles. Drawing from her seasoned understanding of Zimbabwe’s intricacies, she prepared herself for arduous setup proceedings, where even small file uploads could prove to be herculean tasks in the local context.

The Channel Conundrum

Ensuring uniformity in her approach, Posch adhered to a stringent test protocol when opening channels on December 26 and 27. Crystallizing her comparative analysis, she delved into the intricacies of each method for opening a channel, hence shedding light on the most effective approach amid a cacophony of options.

An Arduous Journey

Posch’s journey was fraught with daunting challenges, particularly when opening a channel with Blixt, which necessitated two on-chain transactions, leading to prolonged wait times and rendering the process susceptible to environmental hurdles such as fluctuating internet connectivity. Subsequently, her endeavor broadened into exploring the cost-effectiveness of on-chain, Lightning, and Liquid-based channel activations across different wallets, culminating in a comprehensive cost analysis.

A Deep Dive into Transaction Costs

Posch meticulously dissected all fees involved in opening channels, providing a lucid comparison of costs across different methods, thereby offering a pragmatic insight into the economic implications for end users.

The Definitive Guide to Lightning Network Wallet Testing in African Fields

Many investors are watching Bitcoin’s Lightning Network rise to prominence. As Bitcoin’s second layer, the Lightning Network aims to expedite transactions, scale Bitcoin, and reduce fees. Establishing a reliable payment network is crucial for mainstream adoption in Africa, where innovation is teeming but infrastructure often lags behind.

Setting the Stage for Channel Opening

As I ventured into the wilds of Harare, braving the searing heat and treacherous terrain, I encountered an unexpected challenge akin to navigating the complexity of the financial markets. The balance after opening a channel differed significantly, much like how stocks fluctuate unpredictably. Zeus commanded the lowest balance of 52,500 sats, while Green boasted the highest at 97,500 sats. This divergence invoked curiosity and reminiscent of the highs and lows of market volatility. Green was the clear victor with a cost of 3.5%, while Zeus emerged as the most expensive wallet, spending a staggering 48.5% of the funds to inaugurate the channel.

The Test Location Dilemma

Upon reaching the desolate kopje, I embarked on a quest for a stable internet signal, akin to navigating stock market turbulence. The network coverage, analogous to market fluctuations, proved to be erratic. Settling in a shaded spot with a reliable NetOne signal, I prepared to evaluate the Lightning Network wallets. Just as investors adapt to unpredictable market conditions, I navigated through the digital wilderness armed with my devices and a determination to put these wallets through their paces.

The Rigorous Testing Process

Nestled among rocks and contending with intrusive ants, I measured the download and upload speeds, much like an investor analyzing market trends. My speed test unveiled a ping of 90, 4.6 Mbps download speed, and 0.5 Mbps upload speed. Once I commenced testing the wallets, I confronted varying opening speeds, analogous to the swift or sluggish movement of stocks. Remarkably, the custodial Wallet of Satoshi opened instantaneously, contrasting with the delayed response of other wallets.

Unforeseen Token Testing and Payment Reliability

As I conducted tests to send and receive various satoshi amounts, the wallets’ reliability mirrored the unpredictability of market returns. The results were intriguing, revealing disparities in payment completion time among the wallets and notable differences in swapping to Liquid, much like the variance in investment returns across different assets.

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Outlook on Payment Costs and Reliability

The test divulged marginal differences in payment fees, akin to the negligible fluctuations in investment costs. However, the disparity in channel-opening costs was significant. Green proved to be the most cost-effective option, requiring a mere 3% of the transferred amount as fees, while Zeus emerged as the costliest.

Payment reliability

Phoenix and the Wallet of Satoshi exhibited the highest reliability, consistent with their performance in the testing. Mutiny showcased a commendable success rate, while Green struggled to attain consistent payment completion.

Phoenix demonstrated exceptional reliability, processing all payments seamlessly, even under dire internet conditions.

Payment speed

Phoenix emerged as the undisputed leader in payment speed. Its rapid payment processing was unexpected and speaks to the potential for seamless and swift transactions on the Lightning Network.

This comprehensive examination of Lightning Network wallets underscores the critical need for reliable and efficient financial infrastructure, mirroring the demands of an evolving investment landscape.

Lightning Wallet Showdown in Zimbabwe

Assessing Lightning Wallets in Rural Zimbabwe in 2024

On a quest for high-performing and reliable self-custodial Lightning wallets, an exploration was carried out in rural Zimbabwe in 2024. The Lightning wallets evaluated in this mingling of user needs and technological application were Phoenix, Mutiny, Green, Zeus, and Blixt. This thorough investigation focused on their performance, reliability, and user-friendliness, aiming to paint a clearer picture for prospective users and investors alike.

Evaluating Features and Variations

Embarking on an evaluation of the wallets’ features, my focus was their user-friendliness and security aspects. Particularly essential were the ease of backup, usage of open source, and guidance on security measures. How well are the wallet users guided to ensure highest security standards are applied without their actions compromising them?

Wallet Backup and Security

The backup process was critical, favoring 12-word seed phrases, allowing acceptable security and randomness. It was noted that Green and Phoenix use the 12-word seeds, while Blixt, Mutiny, and Zeus opt for 24-word seeds. Another significant design feature observed was Green’s “forced backup,” promoting high-security measures seamlessly. This forced backup, available only in Green, suggests a favorable design feature. In contrast, permitting the seed phrase to be copied to the device’s clipboard attracted security concerns, and users’ conveniences appeared to pose potential security risks and accessibility issues.

Cloud Backup Considerations

Cloud backups on the user side were pondered, revolving around the balance of convenience and potential security risks. The availability of cloud backups varied among the wallets, with only a few offering this option.

App Lock Preferences

For added security, a preference was observed for the usage of PIN, password, or pattern lock to secure a Bitcoin wallet. Some wallets offered these options while others were more limited in their security measures.

Stand-alone On-chain Wallet

A distinct feature valued was the availability of a separate on-chain Bitcoin wallet, contributing to the wallets’ attractiveness by offering multifunctionality. Wallets varied in terms of providing this distinct Bitcoin wallet option.

Coin Control and UTXO Management

The importance of coin control was highlighted as transaction fees rise, indicating the necessity for Bitcoin mobile wallets allowing users to manage transaction costs effectively. While only Green offered coin control, it wasn’t available in the mobile version. The limitations of this aspect could impact how users manage their transaction costs.

Lightning Address Functionality

The concept of a Lightning address, akin to an email address, was contemplated, analyzing its convenience and potential implications for the Lightning Network. The availability of this functionality varied among the wallets, with different approaches and potential drawbacks.

Performance Test in an Urban Area

Returning to an urban environment, further testing was conducted, exposing the wallets to an alternative setting. The performance, reliability, and user-friendliness were reassessed, drawing comparisons based on this different environment.

Impressions and Recommendations

From an educator’s standpoint, a few wallets emerged as potential top choices. Phoenix was praised for its overall performance, reliability, and user-friendliness. Green and Mutiny also displayed satisfactory performance, assuming functionality was consistent. These attributes positioned them as strong contenders in the evaluation.

Insights and Concluding Thoughts

This expedition into the realms of Lightning wallets in rural Zimbabwe unearthed crucial insights into their performance, reliability, and user-friendliness. As this field continues to evolve, these insights could serve as a compass for investors and users alike, navigating the evolving landscape of self-custodial Lightning wallets.

Posted on April 24, 2024