Review and Test of Lightning Wallets
Now that Twitter is opening up the ability to tip users using the Bitcoin Lightning Network, many people are wondering exactly what Lightning wallets are available on mobile devices.
Consumer Lightning Wallets
There are currently 5 main non-custodial Consumer Lightning Wallets, all available on both IOS and Android (although Breez is only available as a TestFlight Beta, not in the App Store).
- Phoenix (beta)
- Blue Wallet
- Wallet of Satoshi
All of these have more or less the same core functionality: generating and paying lightning invoices, and receiving and sending bitcoin.
MUUN is probably the leading IOS and Android Lightning wallet (if only because it was mentioned recently by Jack Dorsey. It has 340 Reviews on Android (4.8 stars average) and 63 Reviews on IOS (4.5 stars average)
The MUUN interface is extremely minimal: a send and receive button, with the transactions available as a drawer on the bottom
In our tests, we were able to send from MUUN to Breez, Wallet of Satoshi, Blue Wallet and Phoenix. We were also able to send to Twitter and Strike. We tested amounts of 10,000 to 100,000 sats. All went through.
On a UX perspective, the automatic opening of the camera when sending is a bit harsh, and the home screen is a bit minimal. Also paying an invoice requires a note (a la Venmo).
MUUN has a complex account recovery system, which we have confirmed works, but has many moving parts. You have to give either an email and password (and have access to that email address) or copy down a 32 alphanumeric key. They also have a way to recover the funds from Lightning directly, even if MUUN wallet ceases to exist by creating an “emergency kit” and storing it to Google Drive. We doubt that many consumers have tried this.
Phoenix is a Wallet developed by ACINQ, a company located in France who is one of the leaders in Lightning Tech. The wallet has 272 reviews on Android (4.1 stars) and 63 Ratings on IOS.
In our tests, we were able to send from the Phoenix wallet to Breez, Wallet of Satoshi, MUUN and Blue Wallet. We were also able to send to Twitter and Strike.
Phoenix has a standard 12 word recovery phrase (seed). Note that the developers insist that the app is still “experimental”. The IOS version is very recent.
Blue Wallet dates back to 2017, and was one of the first consumer mobile lightning wallets. It has 1300 reviews on Android (4.1 stars average) and 11 reviews on IOS (4.3 star average).
Blue Wallet is both a standard Bitcoin wallet and a Lightning wallet in one. This can get confusing for noobs. You need to get your head around moving between the two wallets.
In our tests, we were able to send from the Blue wallet to Breez, Wallet of Satoshi, MUUN and Phoenix. We were also able to send to Twitter and Strike.
Wallet of Satoshi
Wallet of Satoshi bills itself as the “simplest lightning wallet” and claims almost 2 million lightning payments made.
The App has 530 Reviews on Android (average 3.7 stars) and 63 reviews on IOS (average 2.9 stars).
The interface of Wallet of Satoshi might appeal to gamers, but it is not mainstream. But more importantly, in our tests we found that payments frequently failed, in particular to MUUN and Phoenix. In addition, this wallet charges substantial fees. As one reviewer writes:
As mentioned, fees are super high to send your balance. I saw others mentioning how to ensure the fees stay low and would like to take a look. However, the app doesn’t allow me to log in. I recently got a new phone. You request to, receive an email with a qr code OR a long code you can supposedly in…
Breez is a very attractive lightning wallet out of Tel Aviv, Isreal. It uses a new “Neutrino” technology that adds a mini lightning node to your mobile phone.
Breez is available on Testflight (not in the appstore) on IOS, and also as a “development app” on Android. As a “beta” it does not have any reviews.
The tech involved in Breez is cutting edge, but in testing we frequently ran into problems sending to MUUN wallet, Phoenix and Strike.
Strike, founded by Jack Mallers, in is not included in this roundup directly, because it’s not a traditional non-custodial wallet. In fact, it’s a fully custodial wallet only available (currently) in the US and El Salvador, and not yet in NY or HI.
The app has 2,300 reviews on IOS with a rating of 4.8 stars, and 3,000 reviews on Android with a rating of 4.0
In our tests, Strike was able to pay all invoices on the lightning network, including Twitter tipping (where it is now integrated). It should be emphasized that the app cannot accept inbound Bitcoin or Lightning — so its not really a “lightning wallet” per se.
Like Metal, Strike integrates with your bank account to allow you to easily buy Bitcoin or send USD to another Strike user. This is done via an integration with Prime Trust. This Bitcoin is held separately from the USD — you can’t use it directly to send to a Lightning address (unlike the USD). We tested this by depositing money in both USD and BTC, sending the BTC out to a BTC address and using the USD to pay a LN Invoice.
The single biggest limitation of the 5 lightning wallets in the roundup is that they use a system of invoices to transmit Bitcoin as opposed to sending to a fixed address or username.
The Bitcoin Libre wallet solves this by wrapping Bitcoin on arrival and unwrapping it on demand to move it back to the Bitcoin blockchain. We are in the process of integrating with Lightning for both paying and receiving invoices. Stay tuned.