Wallet of Satoshi, a popular Lightning Network app, has announced that it will be ending support for its U.S. customers. The announcement was made on Nov. 24, and the company stated that it has decided to remove its app from the U.S. and Google app stores and stop serving American users going forward.
The reasons for this decision were only broadly described in the announcement, with the company 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.” The company also expressed its hope to eventually resume U.S. operations in the future and assured U.S. users that they will continue to have access to funds in their wallet for transactions and withdrawals.
Many members of the crypto community have speculated that the decision to end U.S. support may be a response to American regulations. Wallet of Satoshi operates as a custodial wallet, meaning that the provider centrally holds and manages funds on behalf of wallet customers. This 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 of which have recently faced regulatory action.
Some community members initially speculated that Google and Apple had banned the wallet from their respective app stores, but the fact that the app is still available on international versions of each app store suggests that the stores did not impose a ban. Additionally, the app recently experienced high volumes, handling over 1.1 million Lightning transactions in November, as observed by commentator Kevin Rooke.
The decision by Wallet of Satoshi to end support for U.S. customers reflects the challenges and uncertainties that exist in the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency businesses in the United States. The company’s commitment to compliance and the safety of its customers is commendable, and it remains to be seen whether it will be able to resume operations in the U.S. in the future. In the meantime, U.S. users of Wallet of Satoshi will need to find alternative solutions for their Lightning Network needs.