Apple criticised for booting 'bitcoin wallet' off its App Store
Makers of Blockchain application brand the move 'anti-competitive' as tech giant continues to crack down on services involving the digital currency
Apple has unexpectedly axed the popular bitcoin wallet application Blockchain from the iOS App Store without explanation.
The company behind the wallet app has branded the move “anti-competitive” and “censorship”.
The global tech giant sent an email to the Blockchain company informing them that it removed the digital wallet from its selection of applications available to download.
Wallet apps such as Blockchain allow users to digitally store and send bitcoins without the need for third parties, crucial to making bitcoin cost-effective and a competitive threat to traditional finance facilities.
Roger Ver, Blockchain’s business development executive, confirmed that Apple had removed the last-remaining such bitcoin wallet from the App Store.
“There was no notice, they sent a formal email to say your app has been removed due to ‘unresolved issues’ – that’s the phrasing that they used,” Ver said. “But they never told us what those issues were and never gave us a chance to address what those issues might be.”
The removal is a blow to the development of bitcoin, as the digital currency battles for favour with regulators and governments around the world.
In a strongly worded statement, Blockchain called the decision “anti-competitive” and “censorship”.
Users who had already downloaded the app can continue to use it but will no longer be able to receive improvements or other updates from the store.
Ver, a bitcoin millionaire, said Apple had made a unilateral decision to remove the wallet app.
In the two years it was available on the store, Blockchain said it had notched up 120,000 downloads worldwide and had received no complaints from customers, it said.
Apple has previously removed similar digital wallets, including Coinbase and Coinjar, from its download store.
Ver bemoaned the ban. “A native app is a cleaner, easier user experience than doing something through a web browser. Hopefully Apple will see the error of its ways and change its policy,” he said.
The Blockchain wallet is still available to download from other websites, while Android users can still download it from the Google Play store.
Apple has not responded to media requests at the time of writing.