Key Facts.

  • Anchor output is now enabled by default to more easily close channels.
  • At the same time, Onion messaging helps protect private data in transactions.

Eclair Wallet includes several new features that facilitate user operations on the Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN). Two of them stand out for faster closure of payment channels and handling of private user data.

The new version of the wallet is Eclair 0.7.0, announced by the product developer ACINQ On Twitter . Also on their Github channel, they provide a more detailed explanation of the new proposal. The company is also the creator of the Phoenix Bitcoin (BTC) wallet.

One of the novelties of the new Eclair update is the default activation of the anchor output. This is expressed in the ACINQ publication and seems to be "a simple modification to the transaction", but in fact "it changes the mechanism that allows the security of funds".

Specifically, the anchor output allows committed transactions to be added to the payment channel so that the transaction does not "get stuck" when it is transmitted to the main network. This can happen when the channel is closed non-cooperatively, i.e. when both parties do not agree at the time of closure.

If an agreement is reached, the commission for completing the transaction is chosen between the two participants. On the other hand, if you close the channel yourself, the anchor output allows you to add a new transaction (called Child-Pay-For-Parent) and "pull" the completed transaction if the latter has a very low commission, which causes a delay in your confirmation.

Eclair 0.7.0 is released – Anchor output enabled by default – Support for onion messages (required for BOLT 12) – postgres support for production-ready – Some bug fixes and many new small features https://t.co/SOD2I97B5H

– ACINQ (@acinq_co) February 1, 2022

On Twitter, ACINQ uploaded four highlights of the wallet Eclair 0.7.0 Bitcoin focused on LN. Source: @acinq_co/Twitter.

Eclair to Offer Greater Privacy When Operating with Bitcoin Lightning Network

In addition, another feature added to the wallet is the support for "onion messages" or Onion messages. As reported by CriptoNoticias, this is an improvement developed by Rusty Russell and proposed in 2020 to allow private messages to be sent over the LN network, but without payment.

One of the biggest advantages of onion messages is that there is no need to transfer information in both directions. In other words, the sender of a message does not store the data associated with that transmission, so the memory requirements of the node are minimized.

Similarly, another consequence of Onion messages is that they allow the use of "blind routes". In other words, this means that you don't need to know the recipient's network identity to route a message or payment. Instead, this is done through other nodes that act as intermediaries between the two.

As ACINQ details in their tweet, this is a requirement to run Basic Lightning Technology (Bolt) 12, which is an improvement to LN that allows you to run static invoices.

Transactions in the Lightning Network do not take place through the main network, but through a connection between two nodes of users who want to send and receive bitcoins. The role of the invoice is to indicate to the counterparty the "route" to that node. Prior to Bolt 11 and Bolt 12, invoices were regenerated for each operation, but this enhancement allows the same invoice to be used for multiple shipments between two users.

As developer Ishi Kawa explains in Publications Looking at Twitter, Bolt 12 may differ from other enhancements like Inurl because it does not provide the user's public key. Therefore, the exposure of data such as location is prevented.

Another difference between them is that Bolt 12 is exactly a Bolt that should be implemented as a reference in the protocol. On the other hand, lnurl is something more customized and it is used as a solution to facilitate the creation of static invoices. But it is not part of the protocol.

Finally, ACINQ detailed that the new version of Eclair will also support Postgres, a database backend that offers "advanced management possibilities", making it ideal for "enterprise configurations". They clarified that Sqlite, the backend supported in previous versions, will also be supported.