Has there been any research on multi-party payment channels? That is: A payment channel between 3 or more people.

"any research" includes but is not limited to:

  • considerations of the concept of such payment channels existing
  • compilations of associated advantages and disadvantages
  • compilations of associated problems
  • considerations of routing through a network containing such payment channels
  • implementations of multi-party payment channels
  • implementations of routing through networks of multi-party payment channels

3 Answers 3


We were just chatting about multi-party payment channels in the context of Interledger: https://github.com/interledger/rfcs/issues/380

Also, channel factories are basically multi-user channels in the proposed "lightning-extended"

  • Thank you! I have no idea why this was downvoted. I voted it back up to zero and accepted your answer because it's closely related to what I was looking for and there has been no real answer in months, so this is probably the closest thing there is. Btw.: The reason I asked the question is that I was going to propose this topic to my thesis advisor and I am in fact now working on this topic. Thank you very much for mentioning this related work! :)
    – UTF-8
    Jan 29, 2018 at 17:13

In the context of Bitcoin, three main designs have been proposed: - Duplex Micropayment Channel Factories, that extend the idea of Duplex Micropayment Channels to multi-party channels. - Lightning Factories, that extend the idea of Lightning Channels to multi-party channels. - eltoo Factories, that sort of extend the idea of Lightning Channels removing penalization multi-party channels

Additionally, in turing-complete blockchains such as that of ethereum, solutions like PLASMA or other childchains can be considered a form of multi-party channels in which not all users need to agree to the new state (just like in the main blockchain, where the miners decide). This solution is clearly better for scalability in the multi-party channels context, but it is a lot harder to perform in Bitcoin without major modifications or BIPs.

All the papers of the designs mentioned here are publicly available.


This paper is for the Bitcoin Lightning Network, but the logic is the same. It details methods for building networks of micropayment channels.


  • 1
    That's the standard lightning paper. I read it. It's all about two-party payment channels (and networks of those). It's not about multi-party lightning networks.
    – UTF-8
    Oct 22, 2017 at 21:01
  • It also discusses how to build up a network using two-party payment channels, and then reorganizing when bridges drop out. Are you looking for some way to build a micropayment channel simultaneously between 3 or more people?
    – jojeyh
    Oct 22, 2017 at 21:04
  • Yes, I am looking for "A payment channel between 3 or more people".
    – UTF-8
    Oct 22, 2017 at 21:11
  • Oh cool, I think Visa does that.
    – jojeyh
    Oct 22, 2017 at 21:14
  • I am asking about it being done in a decentralized fashion, obviously.
    – UTF-8
    Oct 22, 2017 at 21:15

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