Getting Started with Voltage
Using this guide, you'll be able to start with a brand new account and go all the way to receiving your first Lightning payment.
A node is your own server that is used to facilitate your transactions. It's the cornerstone of all integrations with the Lightning Network.
To start creating a new node, click the 'Create Node' button. When asked what you want to deploy, select 'Lightning Node'.
You'll be asked what kind of node you want to create. For testing, we recommend creating a Standard Node on Testnet. Testnet is Bitcoin's network that's made for testing and doesn't use real funds. Once you have made your selections, click 'Create'.
As a final step, you will be asked to give your node a name and password. Fill in the required fields and then click 'Create' once more. NOTE: Voltage can't see the password that you set and we are not able to recover a node due to a lost password.
After you click 'Create', you'll be directed to the node's dashboard. It typically takes 2 minutes or less to create a node and it will be ready to use right away. As soon as the node's status hits
runningit's ready to use!
Lightning Channels are the way that nodes on the network are able to transact with each other. You must create at least 1 payment channel to be able to send or receive transactions. Voltage offers free channel creation as part of the platform. Let's create a channel you can receive a payment!
Navigate to your node's dashboard which is where we left off in Step 1. If you are asked to input your node's password at the top of the screen, please do so.
After you have input your password, you should see a dialog box appear that asks if you 'Need a channel?'. Click the 'Request Channel' button.
After you click the button, you should see a message that states your channel is opening. Your channel opening must go through a few steps to be broadcasted to the Bitcoin Testnet network. As soon as you reach the state of 'Your new channel is pending', this means it's been successful but we need to wait for 3 onchain confirmations to use it. To track the confirmations of the transactions click 'Watch the process here'.
Once the transaction has 3 confirmations, the channel is ready to use! You should see a message stating that the channel has been opened. At this point we are ready to receive a payment!
In the Lightning Network, payments are facilitated by what's called Invoices. An Invoice is just what it sounds like, a request for a payment from someone else. Let's generate an invoice so we can test receiving a payment.
To generate an invoice, you need to ask your node to generate one. There is many ways to communicate with your node, including UIs, APIs, and CLIs. For this tutorial, we'll us a UI tool called Thunderhub. If you want to learn how to use the APIs, see step 5.
To open the Thunderhub instance for your node, click on the Dashboards tab which is found on the left side menu of the node's Dashboard. On the Dashboards page, you can find the Thunderhub section. Click 'Create Dashboard' under Thunderhub. This will create a dashboard for your node and will take about 30 seconds. Once the dashboard is running, click the 'Launch Dashboard' button.
When you open up Thunderhub, it will ask you for the node's password to unlock the Thunderhub instance. After it's unlocked, you'll be in the Thunderhub UI which allows you to view information about your node, as well as perform actions. Let's generate an invoice here. Simply click the 'Receive' button with a Lightning Bolt next to it to generate a Lightning Invoice. It will ask for an amount. You can enter any amount but let's use 1,000 in order to receive 1,000 sats. Then click 'Create Invoice'.
Thunderhub will then create you an invoice and display it. This is what you would give to someone else to pay so you can receive a payment. You've successfully created an invoice!
Let's make it really fun and pay this invoice. You can use a site like htlc.me to send a testnet payment with this invoice. Open htlc.me in another browser window and you should see a balance with a 'Send' tab. You can paste this invoice into the 'Lightning Request' field on the site in the Send tab then click 'Send Payment'. Assuming a successful payment, you just made a Lightning payment! Now you can refresh your Thunderhub dashboard and you should see a 1,000 sat balance in your wallet.
At this point you're using Lightning! The steps below are optional but help you take the next steps in understanding you node and how to use it.
Now that you have a channel and you've made a payment, let's talk about how we can get better details about our node. We've created a tool specifically for getting better data and insights from your node, called Surge. You can install Surge on your node to easily track transactions, view balances, and debug issues.
To install Surge, navigate back to your node's home page. Under your API endpoint, there is a button called 'Launch Surge'. Additionally, you can navigate to the install screen directly by going to https://app.voltage.cloud/surge/connect.
On the install screen of Surge, you can select your node from the list of available nodes. Enter in the password for your node, then click 'Install Surge'. This will take just a few seconds to install Surge, then you'll be directed into your node's details.
Surge gives you all the details about what's happening inside of your node. It's a single pane of glass into everything you'll need to know. Surge can take up to an hour to populate all the data because it's a time-series solution. To learn more about Surge navigate to our documentation.
In Step 3 we generated an invoice with Thunderhub, a GUI tool for your node. While GUI tools like Thunderhub are helpful for management or maintenance of a node, most applications and services integrate with nodes via APIs.
We expose both gRPC and REST APIs for the nodes that run inside of Voltage and customers have access to all endpoints. You can find the API Documentation for your node here:
With the API you are able to programmatically open channels, send and receive payments, and much more.
Additionally, given we expose the full LND APIs to our customers, you can connect any application, service, or tool into your Voltage node that support the LND APIs. These are things like lncli, mobile wallets, rebalancing tools, and more.
As you start to send and receive more transactions, you'll likely need to start creating multiple payment channels. To learn more about how to create and manage these payment channels, watch our workshop on Liquidity Management:
Our team is ready and eager to help with any of your questions or needs. Please contact us with any inquiries at [email protected]. We are happy to work with you on your use case and understand how Voltage can best serve you. We additionally offer a full suite of management services under our Enterprise License.