Apple removes popular Bitcoin app from iOS App Store

This week Apple pulled a popular Bitcoin wallet app from their iOS app store, in a move which sparked significant outrage from the online community and developers alike. 

The app, which is called Blockchain, had been downloaded close to 120,000 times in its two years on the app store. Despite no significant issues with the Bitcoin wallet in those two years, Apple still pulled it for "unresolved issues", according to a scathing response to Apple by the Blockchain developers. The developers noted their confusion with Apple's decision, stating:

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.

While Apple has not released a statement thus far on the issue, many speculate that the move may come as a result of their expansion into mobile payments. Previously, the company had removed other Bitcoin wallets such as Coinbase and Gliph from their store. According to ITProPortal, CEO Tim Cook said in an earnings call on January 27th that he saw the concept of mobile payments as a "big opportunity" for iOS. And despite its removal from Apple, the Blockchain app still remains on Google Play for Android devices.

The move also drew substantial criticism from some online communities. On reddit's virtual currency subforum /r/bitcoin, users smashed their iPhones and posted videos of the resulting damage in a protest against Blockchain's removal. And in a positive contribution to the cause, Javascript developer Kyle Drake launched an Indiegogo campaign designed to fund a mobile Bitcoin wallet app which would serve as a replacement for Blockchain.

The backlash against Blockchain's removal doesn't seem to be slowing down, and with a lack of statement from Apple there is a widening gap between the company and Bitcoin's ever-growing fanbase. While Bitcoin users are quick to disavow any interference with the currency, Apple's decision to remove the app from their store seems slightly misguided in light of the exponential growth of virtual currencies in recent months.

Source: CoinDesk | Image via  

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