- The Wallet of Satoshi (WoS), a popular Bitcoin Lightning payments app, mysteriously vanished from U.S. app stores.
- Despite WoS being on track to process over 1.1 million Lightning payments in November, the reasons behind its removal from the U.S. market remain unclear.
- The incident highlights the challenges crypto applications face in navigating the regulatory landscape.
The sudden disappearance of the Wallet of Satoshi (WoS), a widely-used Bitcoin Lightning payments app, from both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store in the United States has raised eyebrows within the crypto community. Reports emerged on November 24, with users expressing their confusion as searches for the WoS app yielded no results or redirected them to alternative wallet applications. This unexpected removal from U.S. app stores is noteworthy as WoS is currently on track to process over 1.1 million Lightning payments in November, marking its “largest month of Lightning payments ever,” as industry expert Kevin Rooke highlighted.
Despite its unavailability in U.S. stores, the WoS app continues to be downloadable from the Australian Apple App Store and the Australian and Singapore Google Play Store versions. This adds another layer of perplexity as users speculate about why WoS was removed from the U.S. market.
Why Wallet of Satoshi vanished from Google and Apple stores
Seeking clarity on the situation, Wallet of Satoshi addressed the matter in a post on X (formerly Twitter), asserting that the app was not banned from the app stores. Instead, the post explained that WoS had made a “difficult decision” to voluntarily remove the app from U.S. Apple and Google app stores and would no longer serve U.S. customers as we advance. However, the post did not offer explicit reasons for this decision, leaving users in the dark regarding the motivations behind WoS’s withdrawal from the U.S. market.
Despite the lack of clarity, the post hinted at a potential resumption of services contingent on “future developments.” Importantly, existing users in the U.S. were reassured that they retain full access to their Bitcoin funds and can transfer their tokens to other wallets.
The decision by WoS to withdraw from the U.S. market prompts a closer examination of the challenges and complexities faced by crypto applications as they navigate the regulatory landscape and adhere to the policies set by significant tech platforms.
Apple, in particular, has come under scrutiny for its stringent policies, including imposing a substantial 30% tax on in-app payments. This financial barrier, coupled with Apple’s tight control over in-app transactions, has generated discontent for crypto platforms seeking a presence on the App Store.
The strained relationship between crypto services and significant-tech platforms is further underscored by a recent class-action lawsuit filed against Apple. On November 17, users of PayPal Venmo and Cash App filed the lawsuit, alleging that Apple entered into anti-competitive agreements with these platforms to limit the use of crypto technology and payments on iOS.
While Apple has a track record of removing crypto apps, the motivations behind such actions are not always transparent. Earlier instances include the removal of the Damus app in June, attributed to a Bitcoin tip feature, and the temporary removal of the MetaMask wallet app in October. These instances highlight crypto applications’ ongoing challenges operating within established app store ecosystems.
The sudden withdrawal of WoS from U.S. app stores impacts its user base. It reflects broader issues within the crypto industry concerning regulatory uncertainties and the need for a more crypto-friendly environment within mainstream digital platforms.
As the crypto sector matures, discussions surrounding regulatory frameworks and establishing a conducive environment for crypto applications within significant app stores will likely gain prominence. The fate of WoS in the U.S. serves as a microcosm of the broader challenges faced by crypto applications seeking to operate within the confines of established app store policies and regulations.
In conclusion, the disappearance of WoS from U.S. app stores has sparked questions and speculation within the crypto community. While WoS has provided some clarification, the lack of explicit reasons for its withdrawal leaves users and industry observers pondering the broader implications for crypto applications in the evolving landscape of app store policies and regulatory scrutiny.