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How to configure Bitcoin Core and the Eclair lightning node to make real lightning payments on mainnet

Note: The following instructions are for OSX/macOS. It should however be the same for Windows and Linux. You just have to know where to locate the proper configuration files for Bitcoin Core and Eclair.

Table of Contents

  1. Setting up Bitcoin Core
  2. Setting up Eclair Lightning Node
  3. Making Lightning Payments
  4. Trouble-shooting

1. Setting up Bitcoin Core

  1. Download Bitcoin Core from (Latest version: 0.16.0 as of writing)
  2. Edit the bitcoin configuration file (~/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf) from the preferences menu and make sure you have these settings:
  1. Restart Bitcoin Core and sync the entire blockchain. It might take a couple of days...
  2. Remember: DO NOT encrypt your wallet! (If you do, the Eclair lightning software will not be able to access the UTXOs unless you unlock them manually each time.)
  3. Once Bitcoin Core is fully synced, make sure you deposit some BTC in it. You need some BTC to fund the payment channels.

2. Setting up Eclair Lightning Node

  1. Download Eclair Lightning Node from (Latest version: 0.2-beta2 as of writing)
  2. Make sure you have Java installed (JRE 1.8)
  3. Create a text file named eclair.conf in ~/.eclair/
  4. Make sure you have these settings in eclair.conf:

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