Learn how to recover your funds in the event of a catastrophic failure.
Use this guide as a last resort if you have lost access to your node or are unable to start LND due to a fatal error. Before using this guide, carefully examine your logs, upgrade LND to the latest release and conduct a thorough analysis of the problem.
Following this guide will close all your channels. Your funds will become available on-chain with varying speed.
The more data we have from our node, the more successful our recovery will be, and the more quickly we will be able to secure our funds on-chain.
- Seed phrase (aezeed)
The private key is an absolute must to recover any funds. Most commonly this key is derived from the aezeed seed phrase, but may also be recovered from the master private key found in the
wallet.dbfile, together with the password used to encrypt it. Your seed phrase may have additionally been encrypted with a cipher seed phrase, which differs from your wallet password.
- Static channel backup (SCB)
The static channel backup is a protocol to close channels once a peer indicates to have suffered from a catastrophic failure. The channel.backup file in
.lnd/data/chain/bitcoin/mainnetcontains information about each of your peers, how to reach them and your channels. The SCB may also exist as individual text strings for each channel.
Once invoked, your node will ask your peers to send you their latest commitment transaction and force-close your channel, from which you can calculate your keys and sweep your funds.
- The most recent channel database
channel.dbfile can be found in
.lnd/data/graph/mainnetand contains all information about your channels, including your latest commitment transaction. Invoking this file as part of your recovery process can be risky if the channel.db is not up to date. Only use this file if you were able to recover it directly from your crashed node.
- Information about your channels from third parties
In some rare cases, especially with regard to old channels where both peers have suffered failures, we might be unable to close channels with the above tools. It might be useful to consult third-party tools such as Lightning Network explorers to make sure we have closed all channels successfully.
If you still have access to it, you may make a backup of the entire
To prepare for the recovery process, we will need to a LND node. Depending on the nature of our catastrophic failure, we may use the same node or set up a new node on a new machine.
If we are using the same node, don’t forget to move your old
.lndfolder over somewhere else, so that we can start the recovery process with an empty directory.
In any other case, your old node should be turned off during the entire process and beyond.
We will begin the recovery process by initializing our new node. We begin with the command
lncli createwhich will first prompt you for a password. This password must be at least eight characters long and can otherwise be freely chosen.
Next, lnd will offer us to enter a mnemonic seed, at which point we will provide the seed phrase (aezeed) from our old node. If your seed phrase was previously encrypted, we will also need to provide this cipher seed phrase.
Your node will now scan the bitcoin blockchain for eventual on-chain funds it can recover right away. This may take a while.
Once complete, you will be able to check your on-chain wallet balance with
lncli walletbalance. You may move out your coins with
lncli sendcoins --sweepall <your bitcoin address>
-> Don’t have a SCB file for your node? Skip to the next step.
In this step, we will invoke the
channel.backupfile. Make sure your node is synced to chain and graph before continuing. You can check the latest status with the command
lncli getinfo. We can place it in a separate directory and call it with the command
lncli restorechanbackup --multi_file /path/to/file/channel.backup
Alternatively we can initiate the SCB for each channel manually with the command
lncli --single_backup <hex encoded channel backup>
This will trigger your node to reach out to its former channel peers and ask them to force close your channels. The funds should arrive in your wallet quickly and be spendable immediately.
Not all of your channel peers will react immediately or be online at the time of your recovery, so it might be worth it to pause at this step and wait for a day or two.
If some channels do not close after this period, but you believe the peers are online, try to obtain their latest IP or onion address and connect to them manually.
-> Don’t have the channel database? Skip to the next step.
If any of our peers do not support SCB, are permanently unavailable or suffered from a catastrophic failure themselves, we will have to initiate the force-close transaction.
Using external tools such as Chantools we can publish the commitment transactions from our channel database ourselves. This can only be done if the
channels.dbfile was recovered directly from the failed node. If our file is not the latest, there is a serious risk our commitment transactions can be invalidated by our channel peers, causing us to lose all funds in these channels.
In some instances it may be of advantage to reach out to your channel partners directly and ask them to force close on you. Your peer might have left contact details on a Lightning Network explorer, chat bot or personal website. Consult the Community Resources for how to find these groups.
Once you have recovered your on-chain funds, don’t forget to sweep them to a separate wallet you control with the command
lncli sendcoins --sweepall <your bitcoin address>
You may also consult the following tools and resources as part of your node recovery: