Lack of capacity field in channel_announcment

A discussion started recently regarding the lack of channel capacity information in the Channel_announcement message.

channel_announcement is a gossip message in the Lightning protocol that contains information regarding the ownership of a channel. It links an on chain Bitcoin key to a Lightning node key. Currently the message does not include any information about the channel capacity, for which wallets have to search through the blockchain and that becomes tedious for mobile and light wallets, as they have to send a request to a block explorer API to get the capacity. Not having the capacity greatly decreases the routing success rates as you maybe trying to send 10 BTC through a channel that can handle a maximum of 1 BTC.

There has been two suggestions to fix this, one obvious one is to add the channel total capacity into the channel_announcement message so wallets can know.

Another was to add the current capacity to channel_update so the wallets can know in real time the current capacity of this channel. This would be an 8 byte number that defines the local balance. This can be done periodically so the channel participants can regularly know the capacity of their partners and can be optional in case someone wants to keep their balance secret for privacy reasons.

These two suggestions are still far from having an implementation but we can be seeing their proposals soon.


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