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The lnd lightning client is set to introduce long-awaited static channel backups

The lnd lightning client looks set to roll out a new static channel backup scheme in the next release version, with the required code changes now successfully merged on Github and version 0.6 now in pre-release testing. Lightning users have been patiently waiting for more options for keeping channels safe in the event of a hardware failure over the last year or so, as activity on the lightning network has continued to surge. This latest update from the lnd developers will be a welcome addition to those already running nodes using the Go-based implementation on the network, and should also encourage further users to launch a node and add some channels, now that their funds can be secured both on-chain and whilst contained in off-chain payment channels.

As it currently stands, there are difficulties in recovering funds from open channels in the event of a catastrophic hardware failure, even if the user has their recovery cipher seed. Unlike with on-chain bitcoin HD wallets, where the seed words are all that is required to replicate a wallet, the recovery seed that users are prompted to store for backup with lnd is only able to recover on-chain funds. Any funds that are contained within lightning payment channels require access to the channel database in order to close the channels and return the funds to an on-chain address controlled by the cipher seed keys.

There has been lots of discussion in the Lightning community on different solutions for ensuring a safe backup of the channel data, but many of these require the technical knowledge to set up ongoing backups of the channeldb, using RAID1 disk mirroring for example. These setups ensure that two copies of the channeldb are maintained, with one serving as a redundancy in the event of issues with the primary hard-drive. Whilst this is currently possible for users with the know-how, this still leaves issues to contend with relating to ensuring backups are accurately updated with any changes to c...

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