Design better Lightning wallets with the Bitcoin Design Guide V2

Bitcoin Design
4 min readFeb 9, 2022


Congratulations to everyone in the Bitcoin Design Community involved with the Bitcoin Design Guide. 7 months ago, you set out to add Lightning-related content to all 50+ pages, and now it’s done.

The Bitcoin Design Guide is a free and open resource aimed at helping product designers and developers build better, more user-focused bitcoin applications. It is maintained by members of the Bitcoin Design community, an open group of over 2,400 product designers, developers, and creatives interested in solving design challenges facing bitcoin.

We launched V1 of the Guide in June 2021. It collected principles for non-custodial bitcoin products and provided techniques and examples for helping users in the process of self-custodying their bitcoin.

For V2, we refocused the Guide on the Lightning Network. This version was designed to help people build mobile-first, non-custodial Lightning wallets that deliver the best experience possible for their users.

Why the Lightning focus?

Imagine a future where bitcoin is a wild success: we will be faced with the challenge of how to onboard billions of users while maintaining non-custodial bitcoin usage. As on-chain is unlikely to scale to these levels without sacrificing decentralization, we will need to turn to layer-two solutions, like the Lightning network. If you’re new to Lightning, read our updated Technology Primer to learn about the basic concepts.

Today, Lightning is advanced. In the future however, most users may begin their bitcoin journey with a Lightning wallet. Lightning caters to this majority with faster settlement speed, lower fees, and more user-friendly payment formats than on-chain.

Version 2 of the Guide focuses on building these types of non-custodial Lightning products that people will come to rely on.

What’s new?

As mentioned above, the whole guide was revised, but some areas needed more attention than others.

The Onboarding and Payments sections now focus on Lightning-first wallets, with a balance of discussing technical underpinnings, user experience considerations, and practical tips illustrated with UI mock-ups and user flows.

Privacy and security are some of the most important considerations around bitcoin. Lightning introduces new challenges, which we discuss in multiple pages, from “Backing up a wallet”, and “Protecting a wallet”, to “Payments privacy”.

Lightning is still maturing, and nowhere is this as visible as in the user flows of requesting and sending bitcoin, where various experimental technologies are exploring the best way forward.

Beyond Lightning, the guide has received countless other updates over the past 7 months. From units & symbols to wallet limits and nodes, the content has gotten deeper and more refined to better support you in your design activities.

What’s next?

The Guide won’t stop with Version 2. Design is an iterative process, and the Design Community will continue to maintain and update the Guide. Future updates to the Guide will likely not be the same kind of large updates, but instead, smaller, more focused revisions that add specific topics and improvements.

Future improvements may include:

  • More product-focused sections — from merchants and multisig wallets to more power user focused products like node runners and Lightning node managers.
  • Navigation — how can we improve the structure of the Guide so product designers can find the information they need best?
  • Accessibility — how do we ensure that anyone can use a bitcoin wallet, regardless of their physical ability?

As always, the next steps will be decided by the community. If you find something you’d like to see added, let us know on Slack or join one of our design guide jam sessions.

Get involved

The Design Community is always open to new contributors who want to help make the bitcoin user experience amazing. Perhaps you have ideas about how to improve the Guide, want to contribute to an open-source wallet, or simply want to meet other people who are discussing bitcoin from a design perspective.

Depending on your skills and interest, you can help in a number of ways. We design, illustrate, write copy and code, do technical research, discuss and answer questions, run workshops and community calls, and more. Design is a multidisciplinary activity and there are many different ways to be part of this community and help improve how we interact with the Bitcoin protocol.

Check out this page to learn how you can get involved with the Community, and join us on the Community Call on Twitter spaces today.



Bitcoin Design

A free, open-source community resource for designers, developers and others working on non-custodial Bitcoin products.