Coinbase calls Apple “hostile” to cryptocurrencies

Brian Armstrong noted how Apple’s strict policies for applications on its App Store have made it difficult for cryptocurrencies to succeed

Image of an Apple Store
The tech’s giant’s approach to applications has rubbed several industries the wrong way, including gaming and cryptocurrency firms

Apple has been called out on its restrictive policies towards cryptocurrencies and other applications on its App Store.

The company has previously been criticised by other industry executives due to its vague and laborious policies for third party apps looking to be listed — particularly in its terms of service that some argue limits the freedom of developers.

Francisco Tolamsky, who was formerly a part of the original Apple iPhone team and a software developer, pointed out that the firm’s iOS rules would not even allow for the invention of the web browser.

“Let that sink in. They would have rejected one of the most important technical innovations in the history of computing. Microsoft‘s bully tactic of making IE free seems quaint in comparison,” Tolmasky tweeted.

To follow up on the tweet, investor and inventor Paul Graham replied asking what difficulties the Twitterverse believed it would face as a result of Apple’s policies. Brain Armstrong from Coinbase pulled no punches when he answered that modern-day parallels would indicate the company is holding back the development of cryptocurrency in a similar way.

“Apple has been very restrictive and hostile to cryptocurrency over the years. They’re still blocking some functionality right now, including the ability to earn money with cryptocurrency by completing tasks, and unrestricted app browsers.” Armstrong replied.

This is not the first altercation between Coinbase and Apple. In December 2019, the company was forced to remove dApp browser functionality from its flagship Coinbase Wallet app, because it went against the App Store’s policies.

The cryptocurrency industry is not the only sector affected by Apple’s approach. It is also currently in the middle of a legal battle after it removed the video game Fortnite game from its App Store. The app’s developer, Epic Games, had launched a mechanism that allowed gamers to pay directly for in-game purchases. This took away the 30% cut that Apple took from the previous payment method.

Epic Games has now filed an antitrust lawsuit against both Apple and Google, accusing the two companies of engaging in monopolistic behavior.

“These innovations could include, for example, alternative means to pay for in-app purchases of in-app content—which Apple does not offer—such as billing to the customer’s cellular carrier, using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, offering rewards points to customers, or providing more than one in-app payment processor,” the lawsuit explained, clearly pointing to the notion that cryptocurrencies being used as a method of payment is something that Apple is against.
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