Lightning Network app Wallet of Satoshi ends support for U.S. customers

Wallet of Satoshi, a popular wallet for use with with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, announced the end of U.S. support on Nov. 24.

The company said that it had decided to remove its app from the U.S. and Google app stores and stop serving American users going forward.

The announcement only broadly described the reasons for the change, stating:

“This decision doesn’t come lightly. Our commitment to providing a secure, user-friendly, and compliant platform globally is unwavering. Our top priority is the safety and interests of our customers and our company.”

Wallet of Satoshi otherwise said that it hopes to eventually resume U.S. operations in the future. It added that U.S. users will continue to have access to funds that currently exist in their wallet, allowing for transactions and withdrawals.

Regulatory risk may be reason for takedown

Many members of the crypto community have speculated that, because of the U.S.-specific policy change, the decision is a response to American regulations.

Wallet of Satoshi is a custodial wallet, meaning that the provider centrally holds and manages funds on behalf of wallet customers. By contrast, the official Bitcoin wallet and various other Lightning Wallets are non-custodial wallets, meaning that they allow users to maintain complete control of their cryptocurrency balance on-chain.

Wallet of Satoshi’s centralized and custodial model likely puts the company at risk of regulatory enforcement, similar to cryptocurrency exchanges that manage funds on behalf of their users. Many such exchanges have recently faced regulatory action.

Prior to the announcement, some community members speculated that Google and Apple had banned the wallet from their respective app stores. However, Wallet of Satoshi’s latest update, combined with the fact that the app is available on international versions of each app store, suggests that the stores did not impose a ban.

Another commentator, Kevin Rooke, observed that the app recently experienced high volumes, handling over 1.1 million of Lightning transactions November.

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