How to

Learn how to pay with Bitcoins over the Lightning Network using the Eclair Wallet

Key facts:
  • It also has an implementation of SegWit addresses.

  • Created by ACINQ Team and released for Android on April 4, 2018.

Eclair is a wallet like any other, where you can receive and send bitcoin payments, and it also has an implementation of SegWit addresses. But the most prominent thing about this app, which differentiates it from many others so far, is Lightning Network protocol integration (LN), which allows you to open payment channels that require low fees and instantly confirms transactions.

This wallet was created by the ACINQ team and released for Android on April 4, 2018. It is currently only available for this operating system in versions 5.0 or higher. There is currently no release date for Apple devices, due to the special coding that the company requires for new apps.

Because it is a new portfolio that is still under development we cannot accept payments through the Lightning Network, as currently this feature is only available for wallets running a full network node. Likewise, the Eclair team cautions that it is preferable to manage small amounts in this wallet, as it is still in beta. However, payments can be made on the Bitcoin mainnet.

To get started, we’ll need a phone with Android version 5.0 or higher and some satoshis. With all this in hand, let’s begin.

Installation and portfolio creation

First of all, we need to go to the Google Play Store and search for the Eclair app. Note that there are two apps under this name in the store, one running on the test network and the other on the main network. In this one relationship.

In order to interact with applications that receive payments through LN, we need to download a version that works on the main network.

Here we will download and wait for our app to install. Once this process is complete, we proceed to open it.

Since it’s still in beta, Eclair warns us to use the app sparingly.

When we open it, there will be a warning that since it is a beta version, we have to carry small amounts in order to avoid large losses caused by malfunctioning of the application. We will select I understand to continue.

The main screen we will see when starting the application.

To create our portfolio we will see two options. On the one hand, we can create a new wallet using the Create New Wallet button where we will create a new wallet, starting with the creation of 24 recovery words. These words of recovery should be kept in a safe place, preferably on paper, as this is the only way we will have to recover our funds if we lose the device. Similarly, we can import an existing wallet from Import Existing Wallet. This option will allow you to enter recovery words created on another device or wallet.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will create a new portfolio, so we will select the appropriate option.

We must keep this phrase extremely safe, as it is the only way to recover our funds.

After we select the option to create a new portfolio, it will immediately show us 24 words, which must be saved in the same order in which they were generated. After we’ve secured our recovery phrase, we’ll select OK, I got it, where we’ll be asked to confirm some words that correspond to a random number.

After that, we need to create an access code for the application, which will consist of 6 numbers.

This key will be requested every time we open the application.

After our password is created and confirmed, we wait for the wallet to launch and that’s it, we can use our wallet.

At the beginning, Eclair will give us a short tour of the application.

First steps in Eclair

Eclair is a very simple wallet that only has 3 compartments. In the first one, we can see the history of transactions, either for payments made in the traditional way or through payment channels.

This address will be different every time we open the app.

On the left side, we will see our Bitcoin address, this address will change every time we open our application.

A section for creating and managing our payment channels.

On the right side we will find a section where we will review and manage our payment channels. To access the options we just need to select the button below and we can see the available features according to our payment channels. We’ll learn more about that later.

Finally, we have the options located in the upper right corner. Here we can see the basic portfolio configurations. For example, in Preferences we can change the password we use to enter the application.

After we explore everything, let’s see how to receive payments. To do this, we will go to the section where our address is located and we can scan our QR code or share our address. For this we will tap the QR code and the address will be pasted into the clipboard of our device. Now you just need to receive the payment and wait for at least 3 confirmations before you can use the money.

Transaction history of our portfolio.

To send funds using the traditional method, you only need to select the icon in the lower right corner in the transaction history section.

Options for sending coins.

Here we can send funds, either by pasting the Bitcoin address, or by scanning the QR code corresponding to this address.

In this little form we will indicate the amount of bitcoins to send at the top; If we have an open payment channel, we will not be able to send everything we have available in the wallet, because part of this amount is allocated for the payment channel. Below the address is the cost in satoshis per byte, which determines the total commission that will be paid on the transaction. If we want to reduce this commission, we can select the green icon where Fast (20 min) appears and mark another type of priority on the transaction. At the bottom we will see the Empty Wallet option, where we can send all the funds available in our wallet. Finally, to continue, we select the Pay option, wait for the transaction to be confirmed and that’s it.

Learning to use the payment channel with Satoshis.place

Since we have a wallet that makes payments through the Lightning Network, where can we use it? One option is the app Satoshi’s Place, which allows you to paint a virtual whiteboard for 1 satoshi per pixel. In this app we can make our designs and pay total for our drawing through payment channel.

First of all, we have to keep that in mind A minimum of 0.001 BTC is required to open a payment channel in Eclair available balance in our portfolio. This does not mean that we will spend this amount of BTC, it will only be used for channel expenses while it is open. When we close our channel, the balance will be available again in our wallet.

Once we understand the above, let’s go to satoshis.place.

Satoshis.place homepage

Here we will draw any design to our liking, keeping in mind that the cost per pixel consumed is 1 satoshi. We can easily paint over other drawings.

Finished design.

Once our logo is designed, we will select Submit to create a payment option.

This will be our invoice for payment. It should be noted that the duration of this invoice is 10 minutes, but we can generate it again by selecting Send again.

Here, let’s see the payment details. Above we can see the amount of satoshis to pay and its equivalent in dollars. The QR code we see corresponds to the payment address, but this is for payment through a payment channel and we need to generate it for that. For this we will go to the bottom and we will see an option to copy node information and next to it you will find this information in a QR code.

Information about the node with which we created the payment channel.

Once this code is visible, we will go to our Eclair wallet and go to the payment channel section. There we will select the button with the “+” symbol at the bottom.

We will select the QR option SCAN A NODE, where we will scan the satoshis.place portal code that corresponds to the node information.

Payment channel creation form.

This is the form for creating a payment channel. To begin with, we will set the channel capacity, keeping in mind that the minimum amount is 0.001 BTC. Once this is selected, the other part we can modify is how long it will take for the payment channel to confirm transactions to be reflected in the blockchain. Remember that the payment we make through the channel will be confirmed immediately, but only the final amount it will be recorded on the main blockchain when the channel is closed. To make this change we have to select the green button and it will change. Once everything is selected, we’ll select Open.

Until funds receive a minimum of 3 confirmations, the payment channel will not be ready for use.

At this point we have created our payment channel, but we still need to wait for the funds to be confirmed by at least 3 nodes on the mainnet. When this happens, the status of our payment channel will look like this.

Once the funds are confirmed, our payment channel will be ready

As you can see, the status is already appearing in Normal, so now we can make payments through this.

Coming back to where we left off at satoshis.place, it’s time to make a payment through our channel. To do this, we go to the central part and, once we are here, we will select the icon at the bottom, which we used earlier to send funds.

As you can see, nothing changes, we will select SCAN PAYMENT REQUEST to be able to scan the QR code corresponding to the payment on the satoshis.place portal.

This field tells us the total amount to pay.

After we scan the QR code, the previous box will appear. Here we just have to select Pay.

Confirmation that the payment has been made.

When the previous message appears, the amount will be confirmed by the portal almost immediately and we will see our design reflected on the board.

After we pay, the logo will be visible on the portal.

Closing the payment channel

After we complete the payment, we have the option to close the channel. The first thing we have to do is go to the administrative section of our payment channels and select the one we want to close.

Details about our payment channel

On this screen we will find details about our channel. To close this, we’ll select Close Channel.

Here it will ask us for confirmation to close the specified channel and give us the option to force close. This means that if we start it in a “normal” way, without forced closing, the channel will be closed cooperatively, that is, both we and the receiver will close the specified channel. In the event that we force close, we will only close the payment channel on our end, which could jeopardize our funds.

Closing the channel.

After confirming the closing of our channel, we must wait for the transaction to receive at least 3 confirmations. Once this process is completed, the funds belonging to our payment channel will be available again in our wallet.

Conclusions about Eclair

Although Eclair is a basic app that still lacks many features, such as the ability to manage multiple accounts or protect funds with two-step verification, it should be noted that it is still in beta and, nevertheless, works properly. The payment channels section, despite how new it is, is very easy to use. Although payments cannot be received through them yet, it is possible that in future updates the developers will include this feature without the need to run a full LN node.

You can watch the video tutorial on our channel YouTube.

Featured image of Eclair.

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