Blockchain, a Bitcoin wallet, says that Apple evicted it “due to an unresolved issue.”
The founder of Blockchain told Wired, “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.”
This doesn’t make much sense, really. If Apple was anti-mobile payments it would ban PayPal, Square, and all the apps of banking companies.
So, what is the real reason Apple is banning Bitcoin wallets? It’s because Bitcoin remains a murky proposition from a legal perspective.
In December Apple removed apps that were using Bitcoin for transactions. At the time, Bitcoin startup Gliph wrote a long post about Apple and Bitcoin.
In that post, it highlighted rule 22.1 from the App Store’s guidelines: “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.”
If you’ve followed the coverage of Apple and Bitcoin, this is the explanation that pops up over and over again.
Bitcoin isn’t illegal in the U.S. It’s not regulated though, either. It’s in this weird in-between state. It’s an unregulated currency. In other countries, Bitcoin is in a similar position. In China, for instance, financial firms aren’t allowed to use it, and the biggest e-commerce company in China has banned it.
So, basically, it looks like Apple is waiting for legal clarity with Bitcoin before it starts approving apps that do Bitcoin transactions.
This is a bit of a problem for Bitcoin, which is trying to go mainstream. Despite Android’s popularity, the iPhone is still the best platform for e-commerce.
Without iOS, Bitcoin is missing out on some of the most valuable mobile users.