Lightning in your browser

Joule, a new browser extension, makes it possible for the first time to make Lightning payments from your own browser. You can also manage channels and create invoices using your own node.

To use Joule it is necessary to use Chrome, Firefox or Opera as browser. In addition, your own Lightning node must be available. This node does not have to be physically present, as long as the HTTP API is externally accessible.

Your own node must be used because, unlike bitcoin wallets, for example, there are no custodian wallets for Lightning to date. This is because Lightning payments must always be signed with the required digital signatures. For this they must always be accessible from the browser, directly at node. This may change in the future with the arrival of custodian Lightning wallets, which are often more user-friendly for less technical users.

To use your own node for Joule, the corresponding macaroons must be added to the extension. A macaroon is a type of cookie; a small piece of data that a client can send to a used service to indicate that he or she is authorized to perform an action. What is different with a macaroon than with a cookie is that limited permissions can also be indicated with the macaroon.

To prevent unwanted access from third parties, all information is encrypted and must therefore be decrypted with a password. Since this is all done locally, Joule is unable to recover the password if the password is lost.

Joule is an open source tool. With the extension, the maker mainly aims to improve the possibility of machine-to-machine payments. He envisions a future where computers send small payments back and forth, for example to load an image, through web services and APIs.

Try it yourself? Joule is currently still in its alpha phase, so there is a chance that small errors may still occur. A short demo can be found here.

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