Apple turfs biggest bitcoin app from store


#1

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#2

It's really hard to call something "anti-competitive" when, at this point, they're only a theoretical competitor.

I think it's most likely that Apple just doesn't want to get associated with any of BitCoin's less savory associations; the next time a Silk Road-type operation gets taken down, they don't want to be part of the story, even peripherally. And, the Silk Road takedown's been getting a fair amount of mainstream press lately.

If Apple does come out with their own PayPay-type competitor, then of course they wouldn't want to facilitate the use of BitCoins, but it seems to me that's really a secondary concern at best. It's not like they're going to destroy BitCoin by kicking out these apps. Who's to say they've got any intrinsic right to be including on Apple's platform, anyway? If having a BitCoin wallet on your phone is an absolute requirement for users, that's just an incentive for them to buy an Android device.


#3

Apple has numerous payment apps in their online store. Square, paypal, etc. So I doubt this has anything to do with the competitive nature and more to do with the nebulous legal status that bitcoin currently has including laundering, tax issues, etc. If anything I think it's more likely they don't want to be viewed as lending credibility to something that world governments are starting to take a hard look at...and not wanting to be pulled in front of some Senate panel and explain why they allowed it.


#4

I agree with the above, this strikes me more as a pre-emptive move to prevent their name from being associated with nerdy drug websites by some technologically challenged reporter.

"Are your kids buying drugs with their iPhone? News at 11."


#5

Let's imagine, just for fun, that there is more to this story than the scant information presented here.


#6

Given how aggressive apple has been at controlling the 'family friendly' nature of iOS, blocking anything perceived as unsavory, even apps that can potentially be used for accessin porn, I don't think you have to look any further to find an answer. Bitcoin is something apple doesn't like and can't control, and the fact that it is already linked to illegal activity makes it a slam dunk to ban. It is maybe surprising that it took them this long to get around to it, but it isn't like the app reviewers are perfect or consistent.

Imagine how Apple would react to a TV crime drama where a mobster uses an iPhone to pay for a shipment of drugs by bitcoin.

The obvious facts of the situation are enough to explain this. No need to invent anything new.


#7

Bitcoin is a horrible choice for online payments unless you're engaged in illegal activity or tax avoidance. Most people who acquire Bitcoins are hoarding them, because they're speculating, because Bitcoin really works like a highly volatile stock (with some nice mathematical properties thrown in for geek cred).

Just the same, Apple wants a cut of every transaction, and Bitcoin apps won't do it for them. Since they make no money on it and it might become a legal hassle, the path of least resistance is just to ban it. They can do things like this because they are a walled garden, which is why I don't buy Apple toys.


#8

History belies your commonsensical argument. Read Tim Wu's The Master Switch, for example, and you will learn that AT&T was vigilant about snuffing out the smallest potential threats to their monopoly. Of course, this idea is so old that the Greek myth of Cronus described it: a God who ate his baby children lest one grow up to challenge him.


#9

How'd that work out for him?


#10

Bitcoin is a horrible choice for online payments unless you're engaged in illegal activity or tax avoidance. Most people who acquire Bitcoins are hoarding them, because they're speculating, because Bitcoin really works like a highly volatile stock (with some nice mathematical properties thrown in for geek cred).

Which is why there are not thousands of retailers, restaurants, and services using Bitcoin, including major players like Overstock and TigerDirect. Nothing to see here folks - it's failing and for nerds only. Useless currency.

I'm not a Bitcoin user, but even my casual exposure and research through Ars Technica, The Verge, Reddit and various other tech-news sites would seem to contradict your assertions in nearly every way.


#11

Ignoring the laughable notion that Overstock is a thing, there's a good question here- Overstock has an iOS app. If that app were to allow payment for orders via Bitcoin, would Apple ban the app? Where's the line? Are retailers allowed to accept Bitcoin on their iOS (and assuming Google takes a similar stance, Android) app?

This is always the problem with the "walled garden" app model. Comixology can sell me the comic Sex Criminals on the web, and I can read it on the iOS app. But because Apple thinks sex is tabu, I can't buy it directly on the iOS app.


#12

Ignoring the laughable notion that Overstock is a thing

Overstock.com? One of the biggest online retailers ($1.1 billion revenue), that ran commercials at multiple Superbowls, has #2 highest-ranked customer service of any US retailer (online or not), etc, etc? Those guys? Yeah - they're a thing. I think I bought shoes from them a couple years back, but apparently they're selling more stuff now. The Bitcoin thing netted them $125,000+ in the first day.

This is always the problem with the "walled garden" app model.

Precisely. It creates all these absurd levels of almost philosophical analysis about what is "maybe ok" and "maybe not ok". Conversations about the various levels of tabu and marketplace acceptability end up sounding like discussions about consciousness and our place in the universe.


#13

Yes, but considering that there are over 1B cellphone subscriptions in N/S America, we can already say that, for the most part, your kids already are, and have been for some time, purchasing their drugs with a mobile handset of some sort. I can already hear the caveat that Americans are morons and they will seize on iPhone==bitcoin==drugz, but I think (hope) our populace isn't quite that stupid.
So, in other news, most bank robberies are perpetrated with cars! Let's ban all cars herpderp!!


#14

Like snapchat and tinder?


#15

I realize some of those phones are probably business-only phones, but it still messes with my head that there are more cellphones than people in the Americas.


#16

haha, perhaps Bitcoin has inadvertently inspired Corporations to begin issuing private currency plainly.

HI scrip, HI company store, where ya been all these years? Biding time while labour is beaten down from its recent high? Vacationing in the East, you don't say?!


#17

Go have a cry app dev. That's what happens when you dev for a walled garden: they get the final say regarding who's on the guest list.


#18

1) bitcoin isn't silk road

2) apple is going to get into the payment space: mark my words

3) since the app likely doesn't violate any of apple's rules (if you know fo a rule they violate, let me know), fairness says they have an intrinsic right to be on the app store.


#19

@wrecksdart is right... there are tor browsers for iphone on the itunes store and you dont need an app-based wallet to make/receive payments.

This is apple being defensive.


#20

An android copy of Teal'c killed him.