Blog / Feature highlight AMBOSS SPACE
Recently I have taken a bit of a deep dive into the features offered by Amboss Space. First off, I want to have full disclosure that I will be joining the team at Amboss next month as a Frontend Engineer, which I am super excited about!
Jan 13, 2023
I started using their product and services more lately in order to research the company. What I discovered is that they offer WAY more than I originally had seen. So I thought I would put together a list showcasing some of the main features so that others can also discover their awesome feature-set.
The TLDR is: if you are a lightning node operator, using Amboss is guaranteed to give you an edge.
They have a wide variety of tools to help understand the complexity of the lightning network and make running a successful node easier. So without further ado, here is my feature highlight of some very cool Amboss features.
Just like the bitcoin network, the lightning network feels like magic. But to really get a sense of how cool it is, seeing it visually is important. The lightning network explorer on Amboss beautifully accomplishes this challenge. You have to visit the website yourself and explore to really appreciate it. Here is a popular node page to get you started: Kraken 🐙⚡. The explorer provides deep insights into the network so that you can make informed decisions about interacting with it. You can find nodes by entering either a pubkey or alias into the search and you can view top nodes and aggregated network stats on the main page. When viewing a node you can hop between the network by navigating to its channel connections.
One of the more difficult parts of running a lightning node is creating and maintaining inbound liquidity so that you can receive sats. Amboss solves this problem by offering a P2P lightning marketplace called Magma, where users are matched to buy and sell channels. Buyers of channels can easily connect & setup sizeable amounts of inbound liquidity within minutes. Sellers can put their sats to work and earn a truly low-risk yield on their investment. They do this by selling liquidity in the form of opening channels to other nodes at a agreed upon rate. Sellers also get the added benefit of additional routing fees for payments being sent through their newly added channel. As of writing this article the average APR is 3.07%. The process on either side of the trade is very simple, which is a huge win for node operators.
The stats section of Amboss provides even deeper historical analysis into individual node information and the network as a whole using multiple data sources. When operating a node at a professional level for profit, this data can be vital to the success of your business in a highly competitive landscape. With the stats dashboard you can create custom charts by entering node pubkeys. This advanced functionality gives you the ability to compare incoming fee rates to identity lightning native arbitrage opportunities and other actionable data points.
There are many important events that can happen to your node and you will want to be notified. Things like your node going offline, channels being opened or closed, Magma marketplace events, and more. Amboss has 3 methods for instantly receiving these notifications so that you can take action if necessary. You can setup notifications to be sent via Telegram, Email, or Webhook. I personally have setup the Telegram notifications and find it very useful to receive these updates either at my laptop or on mobile.
You need 2 pieces of information to fully recover a lightning node; your wallet seed phrase and a static channel backup. Amboss is non-custodial, so protecting your seed phrase is up to you. But the second part, which can be more difficult because it needs to be consistently updated, is where Amboss can make a big difference. They offer automated channel backups via Thunderhub whenever your node state changes. The backup file is fully encrypted by your node's private key so only you have access to it. This is an extremely useful service that helps take the burden of this cumbersome task off the user.
If you thought Amboss was going to keep all of this data to themselves you thought wrong. They have made available a robust API that is free to use for non-commercial use. For commercial use you can reach out to the team for more details on how to use the API at email@example.com. Documentation can be found here. Anybody can have access to rich lightning network data and start building new apps or integrate into their existing applications.
If you want to embed lightning network statistics into your own website without fully integrating the API, they have a one-liner code option available in the form of an iframe widget. There are some style and unit options you can pass and you can either view a specific node details or total network stats. Documentation can be found here. An example is shown below:
<iframe src="https://amboss.space/embed/networkStats?theme=light&unit=EUR&noBackground=true" width="100%" height="40px" style="overflow: hidden" scrolling="no" />
Every node visible on the network gets a page on Amboss to view it's connection details and other metrics. But users can claim a node by proving they control the keys. Once a node is claimed you can add additional details to personalize your profile page. Not only does this make it easy for other users to contact you if needed, but it unlocks a fun social aspect to running a node. You can verify your node with other social platforms, add a bio, and even earn badges. Though the main use-case of lightning is as a payment processing network, it has always had an excitement and enthusiastic spirit around it. Features like this make running a node fun and is just another reason why trad-fi can't compete. My personal favorite node personality is BCash_Is_Trash.
Adding on to the previous section's social features you can also create and join lightning network node communities. There are communities all around the world joining the decentralized financial revolution. Currently there are 93 listed on Amboss. The feature-set for these communities is currently being built out, but I have heard during BitDevs talks that there are some great new things in the works.
On the homepage and on each node's page there is a keysend billboard. Anybody can post a message here which adds another social dynamic, but it can also display important information to other users. Further to this idea, users can subscribe to announcements from other nodes on the network who can broadcast a message to their subscribers. Messaging on the lightning network is possible and Amboss has utilized this feature and created some interesting use-cases.
The majority of Amboss services are available completely free, but they do have a Prime membership which currently costs $8/month and gives you access to even more features. If you find all of the free features are more than what you need, you can still subscribe to support the projects development. I subscribed right away solely because I could tell how much work went into making a project of this caliber and I think it benefits the bitcoin ecosystem greatly.
That is the end of my feature highlight for Amboss Space, and I didn't even cover everything! You will have to check it out for yourself to see it all. With all of these features packed in, it's hard to choose a favorite. But I would have to say the best part is that the app is dark mode by default! XD
Here are some links for Amboss:
I know the team behind Amboss cares about it being a community based project. So you should reach out to them if you have any suggestions, ideas, or feedback on what you would like to see in the application!
Thanks for reading and happy stacking, here is my node information if you would like to connect with me: secondl1ght. 🌩️