Print 35 comment(s) - last by KoolAidMan1.. on Feb 13 at 1:06 AM

Bitcoin has no place on the iPad or iPhone, according to Apple

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) this week pulled Blockchain from its app store, creating a growing controversy.
Blockchain is a developer that makes a wallet/trading app for the world's most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.  Bitcoin's basis is the SHA-256d hash; you "own" Bitcoins via proof of work.
Introduced in 2008 by a programmer or group of programmers using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin was the first of its kind, turning the science fiction fantasy of a decentralized, encryption-based global currency into reality.
Despite recent largely overstated and misinformed controversy over illegal uses of the Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency is the foundation of a generally credible and secure global digital payment network.  While other cryptocurrencies have since emerged, Bitcoin remains the most prominent with a market value of over $10B USD.  Blockchain estimates Bitcoin has roughly 1.2 million users, working out to an average wallet value of around $10,000 USD.

Bitcoin w/ USD
Bitcoins are the world's most popular cryptocurrency, used by over a million people worldwide [Image Source: Bit-Square]

But Apple doesn't want its iPhone customers to be able to use their Bitcoin assets on its devices.
In recent months it had already purged Coinbase and CoinJar, two similar apps that acted as trading portals and wallet apps for the Bitcoin.  CoinJar blogged about the rejection, but was measured, saying it contacted Apple and was told that Apple didn't generally allow Bitcoin apps.  CoinJar suggested this might be because of the uncertain global legal status of the Bitcoin.
But Blockchain believes Apple may have a darker anticompetitive purpose for its transactions.  In a blog Blockchain comments:

These actions by Apple once again demonstrate the anticompetitive and capricious nature of the App Store policies that are clearly focused on preserving Apple’s monopoly on payments rather than based on any consideration of the needs and desires of their users.

In comments to Wired, Blockchain CEO Nicolas Cary said that he believed the undisclosed reason for these terminations of popular apps was because Apple is plotting to release a digital payments app for iOS.  Such an app -- similar to Google Inc.'s (GOOG) current "Wallet" app -- would compete with Bitcoin as a secure digital payment mechanism.

Coinjar blockhain app
CoinJar (left) and Blockchain were both banned from the iOS store this last month.

Apple has shown itself willing to kick out competitors from its "closed garden" App Store in the past.  It was found guilty last year of colluding with publishers to raise eBook prices.  Sued by the U.S. government, Apple was found by a federal jury guilty and forced to allow third-party eBook storefront apps.
Additionally Apple for a while was intent on banning any third-party browser.  It eventually relaxed this restriction, first allowing alternative WebKit browsers and then finally in 2010 allowing Opera Software ASA's (STO:OPERAO) Mini browser into its closed garden.  Since then multiple releases of both Opera Mini and Mozilla's Firefox Mobile have been made available in the app store, offering serious competition to Apple's own native WebKit-based Safari browser.
Aside from apps that compete with its fares, Apple has also banned apps that it believes are associated with illegal behavior (e.g. torrent apps) or are overly offensive (e.g. pornography, strong political satire, or religious satire).

Sources: Blockchain [blog], CoinJar [blog], The Verge, Wired

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Fact checking
By KoolAidMan1 on 2/6/2014 11:39:28 PM , Rating: 5
Other sites are reporting on this and there are important things missing here. Coinjar is still available on iOS in other regions. Maybe they're waiting to be pulled, maybe a new version is waiting for approval in the US, or maybe there are US specific restrictions.

What's important is that Blockchain lied to get into the store:

quote:'s app undeniably broke the rules and intentionally manipulated the reviewers to get it on the store in the first place. They presented it to the reviewers with only monitoring features, and changed the server it was talking to in order to enable sending features. Anything Bitcoin aside, they needed to be removed just for this one fact.

This is how the app appeared to the reviewers —

This is how it looked post review —

The CoinJar app is still around anyway, so it's not exactly a "crackdown".

Early iOS apps that compromised user security were ones that did things like change or hide server side functions. Major changes in functionality, especially if they're coming from the server, requires resubmission to the app store. The app is still in other regions so we'll see if it comes back or not.

The funniest thing I learned in all this is that a DOGECOIN wallet app got on the app store today:

Bitcoin fans are going to throw a fit when they hear this. Crazy thing is that unlike Bitcoins, Dogecoins are inflationary, meaning that they have the most realistic change at being a real currency. The inherently limited nature of Bitcoins pegs them more as a commodity rather than a currency.

RE: Fact checking
By KoolAidMan1 on 2/6/2014 11:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
Let's be honest though, days on the Dogecoin app are also numbered if Apple continues to be afraid of liability for something that isn't properly regulated or backed across all regions. Cryptocurrency isn't legal or supported everywhere, which may be why Bitcoin apps are available in regions like Australia but not in others like India or the US. Apple legal is busy enough these days.

Unlike with cryptocurrency, Apple has no liability with something like a bank app, Paypal, Venmo, Square Cash, and many other payment options. If they were trying to kill other payment options to make way for "iMoney" or whatever then there are MUCH bigger and more popular fish to fry than Bitcoin or Dogecoin.

RE: Fact checking
By retrospooty on 2/7/2014 7:01:47 AM , Rating: 2
Well, at least you named yourself accordingly.

RE: Fact checking
By KoolAidMan1 on 2/7/2014 5:18:20 PM , Rating: 3
The problem is that there is no squashing of other payment services. Paypal and Square have been on iOS for years. Square Cash is a very robust and popular payment service:

This isn't about killing alternate payment services, those have existed on iOS for a very long time and continue to exist. Conspiracies are fun but this is all about liability with cryptocurrencies.

RE: Fact checking
By Lerianis on 2/11/2014 3:58:28 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, this is about killing alternative payment services in the real world.

If Bitcoin is now verboten, what is next? Visa? Mastercard? Discover? Just because a government somewhere 'dislikes' the fact that it is anonymous when used correctly?

RE: Fact checking
By snyper256 on 2/11/2014 9:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
^ This guy gets it.

RE: Fact checking
By KoolAidMan1 on 2/13/2014 1:06:54 AM , Rating: 2
He gets nothing.

Every payment option in existence has been on iOS for years, in some cases before it was available on other platforms. The only one locked out is the same one that has states like Florida and other governments doing things like suing traders.

It is all about limiting liability. Other payment options take on liability for customers and are regulated. Bitcoin doesn't have any of that and it is the reason why it isn't allowed while every other payment app is. If you believe that this edge case scenario is opening the floodgates to other banning then I believe you have an axe to grind.

RE: Fact checking
By Manch on 2/12/2014 6:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
I wont use Square because they banned gun sales using there products last year.

RE: Fact checking
By nafhan on 2/7/2014 10:53:15 AM , Rating: 2
Barring specific government legal requirement, what's Apple's liability with a crypto-coin wallet? Apple's not accepting this as a payment method or paying people with it.

If they have liability for this, they would ostensibly have liability for any third party software that encrypts data.

RE: Fact checking
By KoolAidMan1 on 2/7/2014 5:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that crytocurrencies are unregulated and any problems with them lands at Apple's door to adjudicate. They don't want these headaches because to do so requires setting up channels and systems and policies for the local, state, federal, and international areas of contention. The lack of profit incentives makes this a simple decision.

This is why cryptocurrencies are not supported while countless other payment options with their own backing and companies taking on liability are on iOS.

Disagreeing with removing cryptocurrency wallets is one thing, but saying that its a conspiracy because Apple is setting up an iWallet is ridiculous. There are much better, more popular, and more convenient payment options already available. Mobile payment isn't being singled out, this is all about the lack of regulation with cryptocurrency.

RE: Fact checking
By KoolAidMan1 on 2/7/2014 5:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
And speaking of liability, the timing on this article couldn't be any better:

Again, there's a huge difference between dealing with something that is so unregulated and an online bank or payment service that provides insurance and takes on liability.

RE: Fact checking
By BansheeX on 2/7/2014 6:51:24 AM , Rating: 2
Currency doesn't have to be inflationary, that's just silly. If anything, the only way a currency dies is by there being too much of it. 19th century USA, including the entirety of the Industrial Revolution happened under non-inflationary conditions. The Federal Reserve wasn't even created until 1913, at which point they blew an enormous bubble trying to prop up the British Pound after WWI.

RE: Fact checking
By amanojaku on 2/7/2014 11:37:17 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with your argument is that it's based on an untrusted source - a user like you and me posted a comment on a site like DT. That's nothing more than a rumor, and I have not found any other site that confirms this without referencing the same post you did.

Those images are useless, too. As a person who's never used Blockchain, I can't tell you which versions are shown, or whether or not there are additional screens or menus with more options. There's not enough information based on two caption-less screen shots.

On the other hand, the creators of the Bitcoin apps shared Apple's responses, in addition to pointing out which terms of service they may have violated. Apple's last message to Blockchain was that there was an "unresolved issue", but never explained what that was. It seems as if Apple feels Bitcoins could become illegal in some countries, so it's taking the proactive approach of banning Bitcoin transactions. Which is nonsensical.

There are no laws in any country that make Bitcoin illegal. It is not recognized as a currency, but the same thing is true for a lot of things people buy and trade online. If everyone knows that Bitcoins aren't currency, then they're basically spending money on a commodity, just one that isn't physical. People take the risk that those Franklin Mint "collectibles" will be worth something in the future; non-currency Bitcoins are similar. The only justification for pulling the app would be that it is engaging in illegal activity, which it is not. Considering that Apple only allows one app store, Apple is clearly dictating a lot of things technological. It killed off mobile Flash simply by not allowing it. Now it's killing off Bitcoin, or it would, if there wasn't so much international interest. The difference being that when Apple killed off mobile Flash, it was the de facto smartphone worldwide; now, Android is, with Apple only controlling the US. International Android users are what will most likely save Bitcoin.

I like this one post:
There is an important consideration when it comes to “what they feel is right for their business” that you’re ignoring. Apple sold these customers an iPhone. It is the customers device. Apple dictates to its customers what they can put on the device that they paid for. Something about that feels very wrong to me. If Apple wants to give away its phones for free, then they can do what they want. However, this is the customer’s property.

Anyway, this is one reason I use Android. I can’t stand the control Apple exerts over its customers.

RE: Fact checking
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/7/2014 12:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
Apple dictates to its customers what they can put on the device that they paid for.
What's even more sad, is that the Apple fan-boys defend this.

RE: Fact checking
By retrospooty on 2/7/2014 3:06:11 PM , Rating: 2
That would be the difference... Some people think for themselves and some prefer to be shown how to think. For the latter, Apple is not only the better choice, it's the only choice.

--- > Happy on the other half.

RE: Fact checking
By tonyswash on 2/7/2014 6:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
Jeez - are you guys still congratulating each other on not-buying Apple products? We get it - you don't like Apple products and you don't buy them. Well done, I am sure you will be very happy with whatever you buy. But talking about is soooooo boring. Nobody cares about your shopping preferences. Please try not to be so pedestrian. Move on. Talk about something interesting.

RE: Fact checking
By retrospooty on 2/7/2014 11:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
"Jeez - are you guys still congratulating each other on not-buying Apple products?"


"But talking about is soooooo boring"

Unlike the unhinged excitement of coming to an online comment section defending a company, every move they make and every product they release, day after day, year after year. Boy howdy, you make a great point ;)

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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