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, 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.”

361 thoughts on “Blockchain’s Response to Apple

  1. Oh come on, give it a break. Apple isn’t “anti-bitcoin”, they’re unsure how a possibly illegal app on their store will fare. Remember that they’re really catering for a global audience; it’s hardly worth their time to do all the legal work to see if they’re against the law by publishing it in their hundred or so different countries. Please think about what you’re actually saying before you try to get people grabbing the pitchforks.

    Use to make a webwallet like coinpunk which can be installed on the users home screen as a webclip application, and move on. At least then you wouldn’t need to maintain multiple applications, and you wouldn’t have to maintain an app on various platforms anymore.

    You were lucky it stuck around as long as it did, really.

      1. Agreed! What kind of person tries to validate Apples decision here. My god. Oh he must be so worried about apples legal cost… . R.I.P apple you died with Jobs.

      2. Yes, because this entire comment section isn’t a load of “fanboish pile of BS” either. You’re all perfectly objective, right? As long as that objectivity is biased in your favor.

    1. Apple is abusing its monopoly, plain and simple. They feel threatened by the new internet currency and are trying hard to nip it in the bud, like the way they tried to sue the ass out of Android. Apple is the new M$. And you need to get your head out of Tim Cook’s butt.

    2. Possibly illegal? No. There’s nothing illegal about that application, at least in the Americas and Western Europe. I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal in most of Asia, too. Further, if that were the concern, why wouldn’t they raise that with the author? Why is it that Google has no issues? Clearly, this is an Apple control issue. I’d say the blog post is spot on.

    3. I second this – there are other apps on the App Store in this space (PayPal’s app, Google Wallet, etc.) – I honestly don’t think that Apple is concerned with losing profit to a Bitcoin wallet. They are, however, worried about the somewhat murky regulatory area.
      It’s EXACTLY the same as what they did with GrooveShark – murky legal status = no more GrooveShark app. Until the US makes it completely clear that Bitcoin is 100% legal, Apple are simply acting in their own legal interests.

    4. ‘Possibly illegal’? Don’t speak such utter absurdities! Your comment is so completely random and nonsensical that it is difficult to decide how to approach. Are you simply completely unaware of the existence of Bitcoin? Did you half-hear some misreported sensationalistic headline somewhere over the years?
      What can I say to such willing ignorance? No, it is not illegal. I suggest finding out what the words you are using mean before you publicly post extreme and completely erroneous positions!

    5. Illegal app? WTF is that? how is Blockchain “illegal”. Is utorrent “illegal”, too? Should I be arrested for even downloading utorrent?
      Don’t be such an obvious brainwashed fanboi, at least, and make a real argument.

    1. WP doesn’t have any users. It was probably more worth it to develop the iOS app and have it rejected 2 years later than make one for WP.

    1. I agree – a true visionary like Jobs would immediately recognize the value of the distributed ledger and would do everything possible to make sure Apple was at the forefront of embracing and accommodating such a disruptive innovation.

      ……if this does not change, I will ditch my iPhone when my contract runs out and try out another phone.

  2. “The rebels no longer run the show at Apple Inc, the beancounters are now firmly in charge.”
    Make that comma a semicolon.

    1. “Sadly, Coinbase, Gliph, and CoinJar have all been sacrificed on the altar of innovation.”
      That says that they were sacrificed due to innovation; perhaps you actually mean something like “the altar of protectionism”.

  3. “Here’s to the greedy ones. The conformists. The fatcats. The soft-fascists. The chisels forcing all the pegs to fit in the square holes. The ones who will make you see things their way. They make the rules. And they protect the status quo. You can support them, cooperate with them, worship or fanboy around them. About the only thing you can’t do is compete with them. Because they run things. They keep the human race in line.” – Apple, Inc. (translated into plain English from sloganese)

    1. Android is not “open”. It started as open, then was converted to Google’s personal OS. Android is now tied in with so many closed-source Google products that phone makers are looking at alternatives (see Samsung and Risen).

  4. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” -Ghandi.
    #AppleVsBitcoin #BoycottApple
    No company should be able to tell you what software you may or may not run on your hardware, this is the fundamental problem with Apple’s iOS. If we attack the root of the problem with some legal means, then an avalanche of innovation will enter iOS, including a ton of excluded GPL software, file sharing software, music software, digital stores, etc.
    can the people sue apple for monopolistic practices?

  5. Apple seems to care less and less about its customers. Especially since Steve Jobs passed away, things are going down hill. As a loyal customer for years, I feel this blatant act of censoring Bitcoin is really a slap in the face. Apple, shame on you, this sucks and you should really reconsider your policy.

  6. Typo and missing word here: “especially when viewED in the context of removing a 2 year OLD app with 120,000 downloads…”

    Great article. Thanks Blockchain for making a stand. As insiders have known for years – After iPhone, Apple went into decline.

  7. This is exactly why the centralized app-store model is so terrible. Android is no better in this respect. They can remove and ban apps as they see fit like a tyrant. Firefox OS should provide some level of protection in this regard as it relies on webapps which could conceivably be located anywhere on the web.

      1. To install an apk you have to do a command on command prompt which is outside the capability of most users. There is also F-Droid, which is an alternative repository but: “The installation is not available through Google Play store due to non-compete clause of Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement” which makes it out of reach for most users. Thus everyone uses the Play Store which can ban and block whatever it likes. In practice it is much friendlier than Apple but the danger is still there.

  8. Never ever used anything from Apple (apart for a few months an Apple II c decades ago at school).
    Never felt any problem about it. better concentrate on developing apps for Android, windows, linux, whatever.
    In Apple don’t want us, we surely don’t need it.

  9. I’m not a bitcoin user, but how is Apple removing this ap being “anti-competitive”? Were users allowed to make purchases using the app? I mean in app purchases? If not, then how would this app be any different than Square Wallet which allows one user to pay another user via credit card?

  10. I hope other phone companies start marketing their phones as “Bitcoin Compatible” this might start affecting the apple phone sales & make them change their mind

  11. I remember when the CEO of our company lost all of her MobileME data, and then all of her iCloud data. Apple investigated, dropped the ball, and came back to say, ‘Oops, all you data is permanently gone, never to return’. I offered to pay $10,000 to get them to investigate the cause of the lost data. They said that no amount of money would encourage them to attempt a root cause analysis or data recovery. On the same day I found out about PlaiceRaider – a government spy app deployed to iPhones. So, let me just say – Eff you Apple, and eff you spies.

  12. Now everybody can see the true nature of Apple as a arrogant, narcistic and childish company full of egoistic, money-groping ‘managers’. I surely don’t regret I never bought Apple product, not in the past, not now and not in the future… they’re overhyped and overpriced… only noobs and materialistic, status eager ppl buy their POS products! IMO, only their share on the stockmarket is worth anything, only way to make money with Apple instead of losing it guaranteed.

  13. From what I read all that the 120,000 people affected have to do do is carry on as normal by going down the android/ Google route. Apple is like any other company they are in business to make money and like any other business they do what they feel is right for their business.

    1. There is an important consideration when it comes to “what they feel is right for their business” that you’re ignoring. Apple sold these customers an iPhone. It is the customers device. Apple dictates to its customers what they can put on the device that they paid for. Something about that feels very wrong to me. If Apple wants to give away its phones for free, then they can do what they want. However, this is the customer’s property.

      Anyway, this is one reason I use Android. I can’t stand the control Apple exerts over its customers.

      1. I own an iPhone 4 and I have had it for more than 4 years and cannot fault it. Last week the battery appeared to have come to the end of it’s life, so I took it to Apple fully expecting to shell out £65 + vat, after a full diagnostic check up, they confirmed the firmware was the culprit, this was fixed with a download and it turned out the battery was A1, no charge.
        Time and time again I have had this result when I have had issues in the past, so for me in the long term I am in pocket with all my Apple gear, and I have a lot, and before you say it, yes sad aren’t I.
        You raised a good point Paul, and you are right our phones are our property, and yes I agree they do come on a bit strong sometimes, with what they allow and don’t allow.
        Things are happening within the company that I am sure Steve Jobs would not have allowed, for me his demise was a great loss.
        I personally have come to terms with the way Apple operates, and I believe Tim Cook & Johny Ives are doing there best for the company and their customers.
        For me I find the benefits outweighs the drawbacks and for all of us it is a matter of choice weather to go with Android [ like my wife ], or go Apple.

        1. I’ve also heard Apple has excellent service. However, I don’t have problems with my non-Apple electronics. I don’t believe a company dictating to me what I can do with the hardware I bought is in any way acceptable. That mindset is how dictators come to power. The end result is never good.

  14. Shame on Apple.

    I suggest everyone mass mails everyone in their address list (yes i mean old fashioned email) to spread awareness to the old fuddy duddies who still use email and think Apple is great.

  15. Wise move on Apples part. It’s appStore ecosystem has been a very stable place for some time now. These violently changing currencies can only have a negative impact on that stability. When, not if, when Bitcoin will krach, it will reflect on everything it came into contact with.

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  17. No self respecting Bitcoiner would use apple products. Bit coin is about giving the middle finger to control and Apple products are about sucking controls cock.

    1. You’ve definitely got a point when it comes to hardcore Bitcoiners of the Libertarian or Anarchist stripes, but the fact is not all Bitcoiners share the same politics. Additionally, most Bitcoiners seem to want more widespread adoption, which means we should fight to have more widespread support, even if it’s begrudging support from a company that we dislike. ios devices are here to stay, at least for years to come, so it would be very good for Bitcoin adoption if there was a wallet app still available.

      1. Apple is telling its customers they must choose between using their products and using Bitcoin apps. For all the kvetching, I don’t see many people ditching their iDevices.

    1. In no way is Steve Jobs rolling in his grave. Who do you think was (almost single-handedly) responsible for the entire ecosystem of Apple since the iMac “fishbowl” days? The same person who conceived of iTunes, and made everyone connect their ipads to iTunes to “register” it, is the same person that locked the entire AppStore, phone hardware ecosystem, operating system, and desktop/laptop environment to one monopolistic company.

      The same reason you can’t buy a phone made by samsung which runs iOS is the same reason you can’t buy an app on the AppStore that the gods of Apple haven’t blessed (and continue to bless).

      Speaking as a developer, this entire ecosystem is a proprietary, ruthless mess that and I wait for the day that the leaderless sheep open up their eyes and see the company as what it really is.

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  19. That’s it for me folks. I am throwing in the towel and cashing in my bitcoin.
    Too many signs on the wall that it’s getting ready to go south.

    1. What Apple does would make you sell your bitcoins? Of all the news I’ve heard, this has to be the least concerning for bitcoin.

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