Blockchain, the Bitcoin wallet app for iPhone and iPad has been removed from the Apple App Store, leaving the iOS users with no native Bitcoin wallet option for no particular reason, says Nicolas Cary, the CEO of Blockchain.
The Blockchain app has been on the app store for two years and was used by about 120,000 people. It hooks in with popular online wallet service Blockchain.info to enable users to use their iPhones and iPads to make bitcoin transactions.
Blockchain cites official communication saying that the removal was due to an “unresolved issue”, and argues that this is “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,” the company continued in a written statement, “no indication of any problems and no opportunity to redress any issues, making a mockery of the claim that there was an ‘unresolved issue’.”
Actually, it is not the first time, when Apple blocks Bitcoin wallets. Recently it has already removed such app like Coinbase and BitPak from the App Store. These apps all offered a way to manage bitcoin wallets, which act as a kind of bank account for the digital currency.
CoinJar blogged about the rejection, but was measured, saying it contacted Apple and was told that Apple didn’t generally allow Bitcoin apps. CoinJar suggested this might be because of the uncertain global legal status of the Bitcoin.
As Wired reports, there is a believe that Apple may be dumping bitcoin wallets because of the emerging, somewhat confusing international regulations surrounding bitcoin. But like others, Blockchain’s Cary argues that his app was pulled because Apple sees bitcoin as a potential competitor.
“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.”
Aside from apps that compete with its fares, Apple has also banned apps that it believes are associated with illegal behavior, like torrents app, or are overly offensive, convening information of strongl political satire, or religious satire.
A petition has been set up demanding that Apple allow bitcoin wallet apps into the App Store. It claims that without such apps users will be forced to use web services which are less secure and convenient. As of the time of publishing it had been signed 2,609 times.
One user on Reddit offered to buy a Nexus 5 handset for the first five people who filmed themselves smashing their iPhone in response to Apple’s move and uploaded the evidence to YouTube. It took around an hour for the first person, a user named netpastor, to take them up on the offer.
Marc Warne, the founder of UK-based bitcoin purchase site Bittylicious, said: “This does not come as a surprise. For some time, Apple have been removing apps from their store that are even remotely related to Bitcoins. It seems as though iPhone and iPad users are going to be left behind as the Bitcoin revolution takes off.”