LNGate: Powering IoT with Next Generation Lightning Micro-payments using Threshold Cryptography

05/19/2021
by   Ahmet Kurt, et al.
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Bitcoin has emerged as a revolutionary payment system with its decentralized ledger concept however it has significant problems such as high transaction fees and long confirmation times. Lightning Network (LN), which was introduced much later, solves most of these problems with an innovative concept called off-chain payments. With this advancement, Bitcoin has become an attractive venue to perform micro-payments which can also be adopted in many IoT applications (e.g. toll payments). Nevertheless, it is not feasible to host LN and Bitcoin on IoT devices due to the storage, memory, and processing requirements. Therefore, in this paper, we propose an efficient and secure protocol that enables an IoT device to use LN through an untrusted gateway node. The gateway hosts LN and Bitcoin nodes and can open close LN channels, send LN payments on behalf of the IoT device. This delegation approach is powered by a (2,2)-threshold scheme that requires the IoT device and the LN gateway to jointly perform all LN operations which in turn secures both parties' funds. Specifically, we propose to thresholdize LN's Bitcoin public and private keys as well as its commitment points. With these and several other protocol level changes, IoT device is protected against revoked state broadcast, collusion, and ransom attacks. We implemented the proposed protocol by changing LN's source code and thoroughly evaluated its performance using a Raspberry Pi. Our evaluation results show that computational and communication delays associated with the protocol are negligible. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that implemented threshold cryptography in LN.

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