Paper 2021/855

Donner: UTXO-Based Virtual Channels Across Multiple Hops

Lukas Aumayr, Pedro Moreno-Sanchez, Aniket Kate, and Matteo Maffei


Payment channel networks are a promising solution to the scalability issues of current decentralized cryptocurrencies. They allow arbitrarily many payments between any two users connected through a path of intermediate payment channels while minimizing interaction with the blockchain only to open and close those channels. Yet, compromised intermediaries may make payments unreliable, slower, expensive, and privacy-invasive. Virtual channels mitigate these issues by allowing the two endpoints of a path to create a channel over the intermediaries such that after the channel is constructed, the intermediaries are no longer involved in payments. Unfortunately, existing UTXO-based virtual channel constructions are either limited to a single intermediary or only recursively build a virtual channel over multiple intermediaries. While the former single-hop channels are overly restrictive, the latter recursive constructions introduce issues such as forced closure and virtual griefing attacks. This work presents Donner, the first virtual channel construction over multiple intermediaries in a single round of communication. We formally define the security and privacy in the Universal Composability framework and show that Donner is a realization thereof. Our experimental evaluation shows that Donner reduces the on-chain number of transactions for disputes from linear in the path length to a single one. Moreover, Donner reduces the storage overhead from logarithmic in the path length to constant. Donner is an efficient virtual channel construction that is backward compatible with the prominent, 50K channels strong Lightning network.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
blockchainsecurityprivacypayment channel networksvirtual channelsBitcoinLightning Network
Contact author(s)
lukas aumayr @ tuwien ac at
2021-06-24: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Lukas Aumayr and Pedro Moreno-Sanchez and Aniket Kate and Matteo Maffei},
      title = {Donner: UTXO-Based Virtual Channels Across Multiple Hops},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/855},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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