Business

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Apple bans final bitcoin wallet from App Store

Matthew Sparkes

Published 06/02/2014 | 12:27

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Over the last year many similar bitcoin apps have been removed from the App Store
Over the last year many similar bitcoin apps have been removed from the App Store

Apple has banned the last remaining bitcoin wallet app from the App Store citing “unresolved issues”, but the developers behind the software said that the company had voiced no concerns and has offered no explanation.

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Over the last year many similar bitcoin apps have been removed from the App Store including Coinbase and BitPak.

These apps all offered a way to manage bitcoin wallets, which act as a kind of bank account for the digital currency.

Blockchain, which also offers its users a Mac App and a website, was the last remaining wallet app and by far the most popular with around 120,000 downloads.

Until now it had survived the bitcoin cull but yesterday the app was removed from the App Store and the developers were told by email that “unresolved issues” were to blame.

In a blog post responding to the move Blockchain referred back to an Apple advertising campaign from the 90s which said: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.”

The post complains that “the rebels no longer run the show at Apple Inc, the beancounters are now firmly in charge.”

“Offering no explanation and no opportunity to address any issues, without any apparent change in circumstances other than the growing popularity of the independent and competitive payment system, Apple has eradicated their payment competition on iOS and left the bitcoin space entirely to competing mobile OSs like Google’s Android,” it said.

“The blockchain application is the same one that has been on the App Store for two years, with more than 120,000 downloads, no customer complaints, and a broad user base.

“Further demonstrating the arbitrary basis of this decision, Apple’s official communication says that the app was removed because of an ‘unresolved issue’, a claim that cannot even be disputed and boils down to ‘because we said so’.

“There was no communication prior to removal of this popular app, no indication of any problems and no opportunity to redress any issues, making a mockery of the claim that there was an ‘unresolved issue’.”

A petition has been set up demanding that Apple allow bitcoin wallet apps into the App Store. It claims that without such apps users will be forced to use web services which are less secure and convenient. As of the time of publishing it had been signed 2,609 times.

One user on Reddit offered to buy a Nexus 5 handset for the first five people who filmed themselves smashing their iPhone in response to Apple's move and uploaded the evidence to YouTube. It took around an hour for the first person, a user named netpastor, to take them up on the offer.

Marc Warne, the founder of UK-based bitcoin purchase site Bittylicious, said: "This does not come as a surprise. For some time, Apple have been removing apps from their store that are even remotely related to Bitcoins. It seems as though iPhone and iPad users are going to be left behind as the Bitcoin revolution takes off."

"The Apple App Store seems to be a place where only squeaky clean applications are permitted. While there is nothing wrong with Bitcoins, they have previously been linked to some dubious activities and it sounds as though Apple wants to distance itself. This subjective assessment of what is allowed on the App Store leaves app developers without any clear guidelines, and differs to the policies of, for instance, the Android Play store which has clear and relatively open guidelines."

Telegraph.co.uk

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