Testing Self-Custodial Lightning Wallets in Zimbabwe: Finding the Best Option for Rural Areas

nitially tried opening a Lightning channel by sending on-chain bitcoin. This method involves transferring bitcoin from a regular Bitcoin wallet to the Lightning wallet. While this method is straightforward, it requires a transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain, which can be time-consuming and expensive due to high transaction fees.

Transferring Lightning directly from another wallet

Another method I tested was transferring Lightning directly from another Lightning wallet. This method eliminates the need for an on-chain transaction, making it faster and more cost-effective. However, it requires both wallets to be compatible and connected to the Lightning network.

Swap from Liquid

Some wallets offer the option to open a Lightning channel by swapping bitcoin from Liquid, a sidechain of the Bitcoin network. This method allows for faster and cheaper transactions compared to on-chain transfers. However, it requires the user to have access to Liquid and a compatible wallet.

Buying inbound liquidity

Lastly, some wallets provide the option to buy inbound liquidity, which is necessary for receiving payments on the Lightning network. This method involves purchasing incoming capacity from other Lightning nodes, ensuring that the user’s wallet is ready to receive funds. While this method simplifies the process, it comes with additional costs.

Testing the wallets

After setting up the wallets and opening Lightning channels, I proceeded to test their performance in sending and receiving bitcoin. I evaluated factors such as reliability, speed, ease of use, and associated costs.


Reliability is crucial for everyday users who want to send small payments. A reliable Lightning wallet ensures that transactions are processed smoothly and without any issues. I tested each wallet by sending multiple transactions and monitoring their success rate.


Speed is another important factor, especially in rural areas with limited internet connectivity. I measured the time it took for transactions to be confirmed on the Lightning network and compared it across the different wallets.

Ease of use

For widespread adoption, Lightning wallets need to be user-friendly and intuitive. I assessed the user interface, navigation, and overall user experience of each wallet to determine their ease of use.

Costs involved

Lastly, I compared the costs associated with using each wallet. This includes transaction fees, on-chain fees, and any additional costs for buying inbound liquidity or using specific features.


By conducting this test, I aim to provide recommendations for self-custodial Lightning wallets that are suitable for rural areas in Zimbabwe. The results will help everyday users make informed decisions about which wallet to use for their Bitcoin transactions. Additionally, this test highlights the importance of developing user-friendly and reliable tools to promote Bitcoin adoption in regions with limited access to traditional financial services.