Blockchain Blog

Blockchain's Response to Apple

“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.”Apple, Inc.

Perhaps Apple should have added a disclaimer: “As long as the ‘rebels’ don’t threaten our profit margin”. The rebels no longer run the show at Apple Inc; the beancounters are now firmly in charge.

On Wednesday February 5th, Apple attempted to strike a devastating blow to the bitcoin ecosystem on iOS by removing “Blockchain”, the last remaining bitcoin wallet app, from the App Store. 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.

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 blockchain application is the same one that has been on the App Store for 2 years, with more than 120,000 downloads, 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.

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”. Sadly, Coinbase, Gliph, and CoinJar have all been sacrificed on the altar of innovation.

Apple’s censorship of bitcoin applications, especially when viewed in the context of removing a 2 year app with 120,000 downloads is historic and unprecedented.

The decision attacks a nascent and innovative technology that is empowering more than 2.5 million users on a vast variety of computing devices, around the world by giving them unfettered and complete control over their money, while disrupting centralized payment systems controlled by corporate behemoths, such as Apple. The response of users to the restrictions placed on bitcoin applications have led thousands to flee to Google’s Android mobile OS, which offers a much more open environment for innovation. Unlike Apple, Google has accepted hundreds of bitcoin-related applications even though they also compete against the company’s own payment system “Google Wallet”.

Bitcoin is a revolutionary new peer-to-peer currency and payment system that is empowering millions around the world, especially the unbanked and underbanked who can use it to gain access to international banking facilities with nothing more than a smartphone. 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.

Comment from Kyle Drake at Coinpunk.com, an open-source HTML5 bitcoin wallet, a contributor to the BlockChain HTML5 Wallet that’s already available.

“Bitcoin users, we need your help. We need you to take a stand against Apple, make noise, complain, and show Apple that there will be consequences to their actions.”
PETITION TO APPLE: http://www.change.org/petitions/apple-allow-bitcoin-wallets-on-the-iphone