The CLoTH Simulator for HTLC Payment Networks with Introductory Lightning Network Performance Results

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Marco Conoscenti, Antonio Vetrò, Juan Carlos De Martin, Federico Spini
September 2018
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The Lightning Network (LN) is one of the most promising off-chain scaling solutions for Bitcoin, as it enables off-chain payments which are not subject to the well-known blockchain scalability limit. In this work, we introduce CLoTH, a simulator for HTLC payment networks (of which LN is the best working example). It simulates input-defined payments on an input-defined HTLC network and produces performance measures in terms of payment-related statistics (such as time to complete payments and probability of payment failure). CLoTH helps to predict issues and obstacles that might emerge in the development stages of an HTLC payment network and to estimate the effects of an optimisation action before deploying it. We conducted simulations on a recent snapshot of the HTLC payment network of LN. These simulations allowed us to identify network and payments configurations for which a payment is more likely to fail than to succeed. We proposed viable solutions to avoid such configurations.