LNPBP-46: LN derivations

LNPBP: 0046
Vertical: Lightning network protocol
Title: Deterministic derivation paths for LNP
Author: Dr Maxim Orlovsky <orlovsky@protonmail.ch>,
Comments-URI: https://github.com/LNP-BP/LNPBPs/pull/120
Status: Draft
Type: Standards Track
Created: 2021-12-07
Finalized: not yet
Based on: BIP-32, BIP-43, BOLT-3
License: CC0-1.0


The proposal standardizes derivation paths used by lightning nodes, for both BOLT-compatible and Bifrost networks.


BOLT-3 define a number of "basepoints" - public and private keys used in channel transaction construction and the rules for derivation of the specific keys for each of the transactions out of the basepoint set.

This proposal fills in the gap of how these basepoints may be deterministically derived from a single extended key.


A standard for deterministic derivation of keys used in channel transaction construction will allow users to always recover the whole information out of a seed phrase independently from a specific node implementation used for channel creation.


We define a extended lightning key as an extended master private key used for all derivations of channel basepoints, funding wallet and node key. This key is derivable from the extended master key / seed phrase using a specific derivation path purpose value 9735'.


Extended lightning key should be derived from a extended master key using the following derivation path:


where 9735' is a BIP-43 purpose field reserved for this standard.

Node key is derived from the extended lightning key using /chain'/0'/node_index' derivation, where chain' is a hardened index specifying blockchain operated by the node, and node_index' is a hardened incremental index for the node among all nodes managed by a seed owner.

Channel basepoint is derived from the extended lightning key using /chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel' derivation, where:

  • channel' is a hardened index constructed from the initial channel id most significant bits starting from 1 to 32 using zero-based indexing. For BOLT-defined lightning channels initial channel id is the temporary channel id value; for Bifrost channel it is the channel id value.

  • ln_ver' is a hardened index set to 0' for BOLT-defined lightning channels and 1' for Bifrost channels.

Derivation paths for the base points are the following:

Basepoint name | Derivation suffix | Full derivation path -------------- | ------------------------------------------- Funding | /0 | m/9735'/chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel'/0 Payment | /1 | m/9735'/chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel'/1 Delayed | /2 | m/9735'/chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel'/2 Revocation | /3 | m/9735'/chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel'/3 Per-commitment | /4/* | m/9735'/chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel'/4/0 HTLC | /5 | m/9735'/chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel'/5 PTLC | /6 | m/9735'/chain'/1'/ln_ver'/channel'/6

Funding wallet used for keeping funds by a lightning node for constructing funding transactions is derived with /chain'/2'/case/index path, where case is an eqivalent of change field with RGB extensions (see ___) and index is a sequential index number.

Example of extended keys used by lightning node #0 on bitcoin network for a BOLT-defined channel with temporary channel id 2938ce5c0cae4b2af072065dc7dcea68de5e3de0c936742e27e045c8650c6a79:

Extended keysDerivation

Lightning key


Node key


Channel basepoint

m/9735'/0'/1'/0'/691588700' (index equals to 0x2938ce5c)

Per-commitment points


Funding wallet


Funding wallet change




Funding wallet RGB20


RGB20 change


Shutdown RGB20


Please note that the channel shutdown key is derived from a funding wallet - and not from a channel basepoint.


TBD: investigate derivation paths used by specific lightning nodes




LNP Node

LNP Node is fully compatible with the standard



Choice of 9735h for BIP-43 purpose

BIP-43 defines that new purposes must be created with new BIPs and their hardened index representations must match that BIP number. Since we this standard is created before BIP proposal for a new purpose, we need to choose some large number which will not be used by BIPs in a foreseable future. 9735 is the unicode character value for lightning (☇) also used as a port number in lightning network.

Use of channel ids for channel basepoint derivation

Channels may be created asynchronously and it is hard to get sequential numbering within the lightning node. Also, if the node data are lost, it will be hard to guess which channel had which sequence index. Thus, the only way to get a channel-specific derivation index is to use some of channel id bits.

We can't use channel funding transaction id since it will be known only upon key derivation.

Selection of bits for channel basepoint

We can use only 31 bits, since the most significant bit of derivation index is occupied by hardering flag (see BIP-32). We start with the second most significant channel bit to make it easy visually compare index with channel id without any bit shifts.

Use of unhardeded derivation between basepoints

Each channel is derived with hardened derivation, which allows to separate node from channels: if a node-level extended public – or even extended private key is leaked, it still be impossible to guess from the key information which channels ere created or closed with that node. From the other hand, if one needs to disclose the full information about the channel transaction it will be sufficient to have a single extended public key for channel basepoint to derive all other public keys any channel transaction.

Shutdown key derived from funding wallet

Funding wallet may be a separate process - or separate cold wallet, isolated from the rest of the lightning node. Deriving shutdown key from funding wallet allows it to use funds from closed channels for funding new channels without the need for additional interactivity with the lightning node.

Using unhardened indexes for per-commitment points

This allows user to reconstruct channel history without the need to access channel extended private key.

Reference implementation

The reference implementation of this derivation standard is done in a LNP Core Library as a part of legacy::channel::Keyset, bifrost::channel::Keyset and NodeAccount structures.



This document is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal license.

Test vectors

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