The Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network is growing fast, and for those who still haven’t tried it out, 2022 could be the year to take action and download a mobile Lightning Network wallet. But what’s already in the market? We sat down and looked at seven of the most popular Lightning Network wallets for Apple and Android phones.
With the Lightning Network still being a relatively new innovation, there are some complexities involved with using the network for payments. Among these, things like opening and closing payment channels could take some time to learn for new users.
Because of these complexities, some users are turning to custodial wallets for their first experience with Lightning. These types of wallets typically make the user experience easy, but the trade-off is of course that the user is giving up control of the private keys to the wallet operator, which many bitcoiners prefer to avoid.
So, with that said, these are the most popular mobile BTC Lightning Network wallets.
(The ranking is based on download numbers from Google’s Play Store.)
Most popular custodial Lightning wallets for 2022
Blue Wallet is a custodial wallet when using default settings, but is among the few wallets that can be set to be fully non-custodial for users who prefer that. By keeping it in the default mode, however, new users can get started making payments right away without thinking about having to open payment channels.
Blue Wallet supports both bitcoin on-chain transactions and the Lightning Network.
The wallet is available for both Apple and Android devices, and has been downloaded from Play store more than 100,000 times.
Wallet of Satoshi
Wallet of Satoshi comes in first on our ranking of the most popular custodial wallets for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. The wallet is promoted as “The world’s simplest bitcoin Lightning wallet,” and can handle both on-chain bitcoin and Lightning transactions with ease, even for people who are new to bitcoin.
Wallet of Satoshi is available for both Apple and Android phones and has been downloaded also more than 100,000 times from Google’s Play Store.
Most popular non-custodial Lightning wallets for 2022
Looking at Lightning wallets where users get to keep full control of their own funds – also known as non-custodial wallets – the selection of popular wallets is also pretty good.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the most popular among these wallets still had much fewer downloads in Google’s app store than the most popular custodial wallet, which indicates that the masses are still opting for ease of use over full personal responsibility.
The top non-custodial Lightning wallet as we enter 2022 is Electrum, judging from download numbers in Google Play. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Electrum has been well-known as one of the most popular on-chain bitcoin wallets from well before Lightning support was added, which is likely part of the reason for the high download numbers of this wallet.
The wallet is known for its security and features a number of technologies to bridge the gap between hot (online) and cold (offline) storage of the bitcoin held in the wallet.
Electrum handles both on-chain bitcoin and Lightning Network transactions.
The Electrum wallet has more than 500,000 downloads in Play store, but is not available in Apple’s AppStore.
Most popular among the non-custodial wallets that we covered in this round was Muun, a bitcoin and Lightning wallet that has found a way to integrate a Lightning and on-chain wallet into the same user interface with just a single BTC balance that users need to consider.
Among the strengths that many people point to about this wallet is its fee estimator, which the company claims is more efficient than other wallets as it will ensure users do not need to overpay for their on-chain transactions.
Also, this wallet does not move on-chain bitcoin transfers automatically into Lightning channels. Instead, it is set up so that users have access to their bitcoin both on the main blockchain and on the Lightning Network through a third-party service that must be trusted to deposit and withdraw BTC from Lightning.
Muun is available for both Apple and Android phones, and has more than 50,000 downloads in Google’s Play store.
Following Muun wallet, there are a number of other non-custodial wallets that according to the Google Play store each have more than 10,000 downloads. The next four wallets are therefore listed in no particular order.
Phoenix is a non-custodial Lightning wallet that requires no setup, and thus makes it easier for beginners to get started. The wallet also allows users to back it up by providing their email address.
Worth noting about Phoenix is that this wallet, in April this year, introduced a 1% fee on channel creations (3,000 sats minimum), which some users have complained is too high.
The wallet is available for both Apple and Android phones, and is currently listed in the Google Play store with more than 10,000 downloads.
Breez is another non-custodial Lightning wallet.
An interesting thing about Breez is that the wallet also has a selection of apps that allow for payment with Lightning integrated into it. Among these are things like Bitrefill, which allows anyone to buy gift cards with Lightning, and LN.PIZZA, an app that lets users pay for Domino’s Pizza via Lightning.
Breez charges a 0.4% fee for automatic channel creations, with a 2,000 sats minimum fee.
Breez is available on both Android and Apple phones, and has more than 10,000 downloads in Google’s Play store.
Éclair is a Bitcoin wallet that in addition to supporting on-chain bitcoin transactions also offers the option to connect to the Lightning network.
Éclair runs what has been described as a stripped-down Lightning node on the user’s mobile phone, and can also compute payment routes on the user’s device, minimizing the need to rely on centralized parties.
The wallet is developed by the French company ACINQ, which is the same company that has also developed the Phoenix wallet.
Unlike most other mobile wallets, this wallet is available for Android devices only, and has more than 10,000 downloads in the Google Play store.
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