Paper 2023/1360

Payment Splitting in Lightning Network as a Mitigation Against Balance Discovery Attacks

Gijs van Dam, National University of Malaysia

Bitcoin has a low throughput of around 7 transactions per second. The Lightning Network (LN) is a solution meant to improve that throughput while also improving privacy. LN is a Payment Channel Network (PCN) that runs as a peer-to-peer network on top of Bitcoin and improves scalability by keeping most transactions off-chain without sacrificing the trustless character of Bitcoin. Prior work showed that LN is susceptible to the Balance Discovery Attack that allows for individual channel balances to be revealed, threatening users' privacy. In this work we introduce Payment Splitting and Switching (PSS), a way of splitting up payments in LN at intermediary hops along the payment path. PSS drastically reduces the information an attacker can obtain through a BDA. Using real-world data in an LN simulator we demonstrate that the information gain for the attacker drops up to 62% when PSS is deployed. Apart from its potential as mitigation against BDA, PSS also shows promise for increased LN throughput and as a mitigation against jamming attacks.

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Publication info
Lightning NetworkNetwork privacy and anonymityBalance Discovery AttackChannel ProbingBitcoin
Contact author(s)
gvandam @ gmail com
2023-09-13: approved
2023-09-11: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Gijs van Dam},
      title = {Payment Splitting in Lightning Network as a Mitigation Against Balance Discovery Attacks},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/1360},
      year = {2023},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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