There was no warning or explanation given late Wednesday when Apple removed the popular Blockchain wallet app from its iOS App Stores, leaving iPhone and iPad users with no native bitcoin wallet options for their devices, according to CoinDesk.
There was no explanation given in the crisp Apple statement other than saying the removal was due to ‘an unresolved issue’.
The Cupertino Company’s move did not come as a complete surprise, as Apple had previously banned bitcoin wallet apps Coinbase and CoinJar, and insisted encrypted messaging app Gliph remove an option that allowed users to send bitcoin.
Blockchain was scathing in its retort to Apple after two years on the Apple store and posted its criticism of Apple’s decision, in the following statement on its blog:
‘These actions by Apple once again demonstrate the anti-competitive 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.’
‘[The app] had no customer complaints, and a broad user base. The only thing that has changed is that bitcoin has become competitive to Apple’s own payment system. By removing the Blockchain app, the only bitcoin wallet application on the App store, Apple has eliminated competition using their monopolistic position in the market in a heavy handed manner.’
With its removal of all bitcoin wallet apps from its App Stores, many have questioned whether Apple might be trying to remove competition and enter the mobile payment space itself.
Even Coinbase, one of the most popular bitcoin payment processors in the US, had its iOS app blacklisted just three week after it appeared on the Apple store.
A statement on the Blockchain blog noted that Google accepted bitcoin even though Google has its own wallet.
Blockchain listed a very important feature of the app on its blog about the convenience of sending bitcoins internationally: ‘ Bitcoin’s use for international payments from family members sending money home to support entire communities in the developing world and for charity fundraising and fund distribution will be severely affected by this decision. As of Wednesday, bitcoin is no longer available to those using iOS devices, once again leaving them to the mercy of oppressive currency controls and governments in some of the worst regimes in the world.’
CoinDesk noted on its site that there is also an active petition on Change.org to allow bitcoin wallets to run natively on iOS devices, though whether it would elicit any official response from the notoriously silent Apple is doubtful.
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