Lightning In Your Hand: Casa Introduces Plug-and-Play Lightning Nodes

Casa has announced that it is selling a plug-and-play device that allows you to run a Lightning node out of the box.

The device is simply a Raspberry Pi computer that is pre-configured to run a Lightning node, but it could solve the Lightning Network’s adoption problems by making it simple for anyone to run a node.

Why Run a Lightning Node?

The Lightning Network functions as a peer-based network that speeds up Bitcoin and Litecoin payments by performing transactions off-chain. Node operators can make a small profit by relaying transactions on the network.

Essentially, node operators can create direct payment paths with other node operators, and if there is no direct path, the payment will “hop” between paths. Node operators earn money from transaction fees if they are involved in a hop.

Although there is a lot of hype building around Lightning, its usefulness relies on user adoption, as with any peer-based protocol. Unfortunately, it is notoriously difficult to set up a Lightning node. According to one recent guide:

“I’ve also found that Lightning is extremely hard to install, and I’ve wasted many hours setting up a node…This blogpost only describes the installation process, and assumes the reader is proficient in setting up a server…Lightning is not for the faint of heart.”

Luckily, Casa’s device does most of the work for you: as soon as you turn on the computer, the node can be managed through a web interface — no fiddling with code or command lines required.

Suggested Reading : Learn more about Bitcoin mining in our guide to blockchain consensus mechanisms.

Availability and Alternatives

It will be some time before you can get your hands on the product. Shipments for the next few months have already sold out, and the next batch will ship in December.

The Casa Lightning node costs $300, which is fairly steep considering the miniscule profits that node operators currently earn. However, there are free alternatives: if you already have a Raspberry Pi, the RaspiBlitz project can automate the Lightning setup process for you. There are paid competitors as well: Lightning In A Box and Lightning Farm sell similar products.

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