At the request of the Google Play Store, Samourai Wallet will be disabling a number of features on its mobile wallet.
In a blog post, Samourai Wallet stated: “The Google Play Store is forcing us to remove Stealth Mode, SMS Commands, and SIM Switch Defense features as they transition to becoming more of a ‘Walled Garden'”.
Sad but true, @GooglePlay is forcing us to remove Stealth Mode, SMS Commands, and SIM Switch Defense features as they transition to becoming more of a "Walled Garden" – despite the fact these features have proven record of helping users transact safely. https://t.co/kLRQT9PWvh
— Samourai Wallet (@SamouraiWallet) January 8, 2019
This request from Google comes despite the fact these features have a proven record of helping users transact safely within the cryptocurrency wallet. All three of these features were included in Samourai Wallet since its first release in 2015.
What features will be disabled?
Google have requested that three features be removed. The first feature is Stealth Mode, which provides users in hostile environments a way to transact with BTC on their device without making it obvious they are carrying around a Bitcoin wallet. This feature is heavily used in South America.
The second feature that will be removed is remote SMS commands. This allows users who lose their device to remotely erase their Bitcoin wallet to prevent further loss of their crypto funds.
Finally, the SIM Switch Defense feature is also being removed. This feature alerts users to the fact that their SIM card is being hijacked due to extremely poor ‘operations security’ used by some network carrier.
Trying to get Google exemptions
Over the last few months, the Samourai Wallet team have been requesting exemptions from Google to keep the features on their wallet. The team have made the argument that the removal of such functionality would cause users to be less secure and more exposed to potential security threats.
The team said in their blog post that they even “provided evidence of the SIM Switch Defense feature alerting users countless times to attempted SIM Swap attacks on their SIM cards.”
“Google, however, responded that it did not care about any of this, and Samourai Wallet would have been removed from the Google Play Store had we not complied with this dictate.”
“To this day, no other wallet has enabled these types of features, and now it is very likely no other wallet will thanks to the heavy hand of Google.”
Samourai Wallet concluded their blog post by saying that they are “sorry for this inconvenience, but our hands have been tied by Google. We hope to bring these features back somehow in the future in the Google Play Store release.”
They are, however, still looking to release their full feature set experience via alternative application distribution methods like direct download and F-Droid in the next few months.