Apple has removed a Bitcoin app from its App Store. The move has left many uncertain over the future of the virtual currency and whether it is worth trading in it.
Bitcoin was relatively unheard of, until a few months ago. It suddenly became the innovative way to pay for things, since it was all virtual. The benefit for many is that it allows for anonymous payments, and the currency is gained through the solving of puzzles.
Apple made the decision on Wednesday to remove the most popular bitcoin app, Blockchain, from its store. However, according to the CEO of Blockchain, Nicolas Cary, there was no reason for the removal. It has left the company with no way of fixing the problem for its 120,000 users.
It has also raised concerns for other bitcoin apps on other platforms. This app was the only one available through the iPhone creator’s store.
Those who use Blockchain will be relieved to hear that the app is still available, but not through the Apple App Store. Customers will need to get the updates, patch fixes and download the app directly from Blockchain.
This is not the first time an app for the virtual currency has been removed from the store. Last year, the company removed BitPak, forcing it to shut down entirely. BitPak was the first bitcoin wallet to hit the iOS store. Coinbase was then removed in November. Cary explained that Blockchain had been removed from the store in the past, but after making changes Apple allowed the bitcoin app back.
One of the possible reasons for the removal of the apps is due to the international regulations—or lack of them. On a forum, users claimed that the company had explained the app didn’t follow legal regulations in all countries, which is something that Apple states all developers must do. No laws were stated at the time of removal though, since there are no current regulations covering the topic of virtual currencies. Other users found this interesting, believing that apps on the store cannot have anything to do with the transferring of virtual money.
Cary suspects something different. He, along with others, believe the tech giant is looking at breaking into the virtual currency market. Removing bitcoin apps is the first stage to avoid any competition. Apple started this with the introduction of Passbook after the iOS 6 update, but still has a long way to go.
Despite the tech company killing bitcoin apps, Android is accepting them. Both Coinbase and Blockchain are welcome on the Android App Store, and Cary acknowledges that he is “cool with Google.” The incident would suggest Apple is planning something that they are refusing to tell anybody about yet.
There are a few bitcoin apps still available on the App Store, but they do not work in the same way as apps like Blockchain. The apps still available cannot send or receive the virtual currency. It seems to support Cary’s theory that Apple removed his bitcoin app from the store to get rid of competition.
By Alexandria Ingham