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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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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: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/square-cash/id7119...

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: http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/7/5386222/a-string-...

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.


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