An interesting development has taken place in the world of Bitcoin. More specifically, ACINQ recently released its mobile client with Lightning Network capabilities. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the company has since removed the application, as its Eclair Wallet can no longer be updated directly. The associated signing key has been lost, forcing the company to take a rather drastic course of action.
ACINQ’s Eclair Wallet is Removed Temporarily
It has become apparent that there is growing interest in the Lightning Network as of right now. Bitcoin’s scaling solution could introduce a lot of positive changes in quick succession, including micropayments, faster transaction times, and lower fees. For the average consumer, it’s still pretty difficult to access this particular technology.
This is why ACINQ decided to develop an Android Lightning Network wallet. Known as Eclair, this solution allows users to store and spend Bitcoin over the Lightning Network. It is important to note that this particular wallet runs on the Bitcoin mainnet and doesn’t involve using test currency. As such, it can allow more people to experience the benefits of the Lightning Network in the months to come.
Unfortunately, it seems ACINQ’s Eclair wallet has been removed from the Google Play Store. Apparently, the signing key associated with this wallet has been lost, which makes it impossible for the ACINQ team to update their application. That is a very worrisome development, and removing the app was the only plausible course of action.
PSA: We have disabled the mainnet Eclair Wallet Android app from Google Play and removed the apk link from our github page.
— ACINQ (@acinq_co) April 7, 2018
This doesn’t mean the app’s signing key has become compromised in any way. It seems someone on the ACINQ team accidentally deleted this vital piece of information, although it remains unclear how this happened exactly. Even so, it is an issue from which the team cannot easily recover, as recovering this signing key will be impossible.
Rest assured the Eclair wallet app will be resubmitted to the Google Play Store in the future, with its own separate signing key. Users who have the Eclair app installed on their Android device right now would do best to remove it altogether, as it will no longer be updated or maintained. Should any bugs with the existing app arise, there is nothing the ACINQ team will be able to do.
While this is a rather unfortunate event, it should not hurt Bitcoin in any way. All it does is delay convenient access to Lightning Network payments for ACINQ enthusiasts, but it is evident the team is working hard to reinstate the app in a slightly different form. For now, it remains unclear when the app will come back, although more information should become available in the coming weeks.