Aqua Wallet Review 2024: Open Source Bitcoin Wallet

Aqua wallet is a Bitcoin wallet that supports Bitcoin, Lightning, and Liquid transactions. It is open source and noncustodial.


Launched in January 2024, Aqua Wallet is an open-source, noncustodial Bitcoin wallet that empowers you to hold, transact, and swap your Bitcoin across various layers including Bitcoin onchain, Lightning Network, and the Liquid Network (L-BTC).

Aqua Wallet was created by the JAN3 team and was officially launched on January 3rd. This date holds significance as it marks the anniversary of Bitcoin’s first-ever mined block, known as the Genesis block.

How Does Aqua Wallet Work?

Getting started with Aqua Wallet is an easy process, even for beginners. You simply need to download Aqua Wallet app for iOS or Android, and agree to the terms of service. You then need to create a new Bitcoin wallet within Aqua Wallet by selecting the “Create New Wallet” option, which then generates a critical 12-word seed phrase for a BIP32 hierarchical wallet. This seed phrase is the sole means of accessing the wallet and its associated Bitcoin assets. It’s important to know that Aqua Wallet does not store, have access to, or have any way or means of recovering your recovery phrase.

The wallet facilitates transactions and swaps across on chain Bitcoin, Lightning Network, and Liquid Network. Bitcoin on chain refers to transactions that are processed directly on the Bitcoin blockchain, while Lightning Network and Liquid Network offer off-chain solutions for faster and more scalable transactions. The Lightning Network is a layer-two scaling solution for Bitcoin, designed to enable fast, cheap, and scalable transactions by conducting them off-chain. The Liquid Network is a sidechain built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain to transact both Bitcoin and other digital assets, including stablecoins.

As a native Liquid wallet, Aqua provides access to Liquid Bitcoin right from the outset. Firstly, when you receive a Lightning transaction, funds are automatically held as Liquid Bitcoin within your Aqua wallet. Additionally, you can exchange Liquid USDT for L-BTC directly within the Aqua platform, or swap on-chain Bitcoin for L-BTC. Furthermore, you can withdraw L-BTC from exchanges that support Liquid, such as Bitfinex, BtcTurk, BTSE, or Kraken. Moreover, you can receive L-BTC directly into a Liquid address generated from your Aqua wallet.

Once you accumulate Liquid and Lightning asssets in your Aqua wallet, you can exchange them for Liquid USDT or Bitcoin, or use them for Lightning transactions. The wallet interface conveniently displays balances in Bitcoin, Liquid and Lightning, and Tether USDT.

Is Aqua a Lightning Wallet?

While Aqua primarily functions as a native Bitcoin and Liquid wallet, it does offer support for receiving or sending Bitcoin via Lightning. However, it’s important to note that your Aqua wallet exclusively holds Bitcoin on chain and Liquid assets. When you initiate a Lightning transaction, the funds are sourced from your Liquid N reserves.

The process of sending Bitcoin on Lightning through Aqua involves submarine swaps facilitated by Boltz. When your Aqua wallet displays a “Lightning Payment in Process” status, it indicates that your Layer 2 Bitcoin (L-BTC) has been transferred from Aqua to Boltz. Subsequently, Boltz will complete the payment by settling the invoice with the destination wallet. Essentially, you’re delegating all the complexities of managing a Lightning node to Boltz.

Can You Buy Bitcoin on Aqua Wallet?

Aqua Wallet’s built-in Marketplace offers you the convenience of purchasing Bitcoin using various payment methods including bank transfers, debit/credit cards, or mobile wallets, depending on their location. Supported e-wallets include Apple Pay, Skrill, Cash App, Neteller, and AstroPay, while bank transfer options include SEPA, GiroPay, and UK Faster Payments, among others.

Aqua Wallet Fees

Unlike many wallets, you should expect fees for sending and receiving Lightning payments. This is due to the fact that every time a Lightning payment is sent or received, Liquid Bitcoin is swiftly exchanged behind the scenes. Consequently, when utilizing Lightning for Bitcoin transactions, anticipate minimal fees, typically falling within the range of 400-600 sats. These fees adjust advantageously for users, enabling lower costs for larger transactions. Conversely, on-chain transactions will bear standard mining fees applicable at the time of the transaction.

Presently, the wallet does not support Replace-by-fee (RBF), which allows you to replace an unconfirmed transaction with a new one that includes a higher fee, typically used to expedite transactions stuck in the mempool.

Is Aqua Wallet Safe?

Aqua Wallet prioritizes user security and privacy. As a noncustodial wallet, you retain full control over your private keys and funds. Additionally, Aqua ensures no data collection from users, regardless of their platform (iOS or Android). Their apps refrain from logging any information, and they do not maintain servers for data collection. Aqua firmly respects your privacy and will never prompt you to input personal data. It’s worth noting that in instances where you are directed to third-party service providers, different privacy policies may apply.

Aqua is an open source Bitcoin wallet, allowing anyone to inspect it for vulnerabilities or hidden features. This transparency fosters trust as the code undergoes scrutiny by the security community. Since the code is open for anyone to see, it’s less likely for developers to introduce malicious code (backdoors) that could compromise your funds.

However, Liquid, being a separate system from the Bitcoin main network, carries unique risks compared to the Bitcoin main network. These include centralization, as it operates under a consortium, and peg risk, where asset values are tied to those on the Bitcoin network, posing potential losses if the peg fails.

Aqua Wallet Supported Countries

The wallet is accessible to users across various regions including Latin America, Europe, North America, and Africa such as Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, German, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, and South Africa. Supported countries are easily identifiable within the app’s marketplace.

Is Aqua Wallet Reliable and Good?

Aqua Wallet, currently only available in English, Spanish, Dutch, and Bulgarian, stands as a reliable option if you are seeking a multi asset wallet with enhanced security and transparency for your Bitcoin transactions. As a non KYC, and noncustodial wallet, it ensures you retain privacy and control over your private keys and funds. The wallet supports SegWit and Taproot addresses in order to enhance privacy, security, efficiency, and fee reduction.

Being an open-source wallet, Aqua allows the public to readily audit and verify its code. The development team has announced plans for Aqua to become accessible on F-Droid, ensuring privacy-focused users can receive the latest updates without relying on Google Services. Until this integration is completed, the Aqua APK will remain available on the Aqua website, enabling power users to download it directly from GitHub along with its corresponding source code.

As a multi-asset wallet, Aqua Wallet allows you to hold and swap Bitcoin, Lightning, Liquid, and USDT. However, while it offers native support for Bitcoin and Liquid Network, it uses Submarine Swaps for Lightning transactions, a process currently under scrutiny by developers due to occasional delays. For instance, Lightning payments to Muun Wallet, which also employs submarine swaps, have experienced significant delays. Aqua developers are actively investigating this issue.

One of the significant benefits of Aqua Wallet is its usability if you live in a country with an unstable currency, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe. You can store your funds on Aqua in USDT (Tether), a stablecoin pegged 1:1 to the US dollar. This advantage is particularly crucial for users in regions experiencing currency devaluation, allowing them to safeguard their hard-earned money from inflation.

However, for more affordable Lightning transactions, we suggest opting for alternative Lightning wallets. Aqua isn’t strictly a Lightning wallet; it relies on Boltz exchange for Lightning transactions, incurring extra costs for users. Consequently, transactions on the Aqua wallet essentially operate as Liquid transactions, promptly exchanged into Lightning.

While Aqua Wallet lacks support for advanced features like Coin Control, Tor, VPN, CoinJoin, PayJoin, multisig, watch-only, or stealth wallet capabilities, its developers are actively working to enhance its functionality. Planned additions, such as a bill payment feature and debit card integration, promise further convenience for users. It’s important to note that Aqua Wallet entered the market relatively recently, on January 3, 2024.

Additional information

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