The world’s most valuable company has just launched another salvo in its war against the cryptocurrency, banning the popular Bitcoin wallet Blockchain from its app store without giving any clear reason why, according to a report in Wired.com.
With blockchain no longer available on the app store, it means that iPhone and iPad users are left with no native Bitcoin wallet option to send and receive the cryptocurrency quickly and easily, following Apple’s earlier decisions to ban Coinbase and CoinJar, reports Coindesk.
Apple’s justification for removing Blockchain? In an email to Blockchain CEO Nicholas Cary, all it would say is that the app was removed “due to an unresolved issue,” reports Wired:
“Some believe that Apple may be dumping bitcoin wallets because of the emerging, somewhat confusing international regulations surrounding bitcoin. But like others, Blockchain’s Cary argues that his app was pulled because Apple sees bitcoin as a potential competitor. “I think that Apple is positioning itself to take on mobile payments in a way they haven’t described to the public and they’re being anti-competitive.”
Blockchain followed up with this scathingly critical response to Apple on its official 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.”
“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.”
Bitcoinmagazine notes that Apple could well have designs on the virtual currency space itself, having previously filed a patent for something called iMoney – which describes both a virtual currency and a digital wallet. Could it be that this is the real reason behind Apple’s move?
If Apple really does want to create its own digital money then something like Bitcoin is an obvious threat to its plans, but this move will almost certainly backfire. As I previously wrote, despite all of the opposition to Bitcoin, from China and from various banks, cryptocurrencies aren’t going away any time soon – in fact the opposite is true, with New York and perhaps California set to legitimize the use of Bitcoin, and big companies like Overstock.com now accepting it as payment, widespread adoption of the digital money seems to be inevitable, and not even an entity as powerful as Apple will be able to stop it from happening.
Apple’s decision to fight Bitcoin will only hurt its customers, and that’s a real shame. These are the same customers that Apple is supposed to serve, but rather than do so it’s harming its customers by taking away what is a truly innovative and useful payment system for “unresolved issues.”
Blockchain isn’t going away. Bitcoin certainly isn’t. And that means people will still be able to access free international money services on their smartphones, no matter where in the world they might be.
The only difference is, if Apple doesn’t change its position, those people will be using Android devices to do it.