Apple pulls Bitcoin app from App Store

6 Feb 2014

For reasons yet to be understood, Apple has pulled its Blockchain app, the most popular bitcoin wallet available, from its App Store.

First reported by Wired, the app, which had more than 1m users across the globe, suddenly disappeared from the store overnight with little explanation from Apple as to why.

The app is a bitcoin wallet which has allowed users to trade in bitcoins on the go and was considered a leading player in the advance of bitcoin into the greater marketplace.

However, Apple has sent a brief email explaining the app had been taken down for ‘unresolved issues’. These issues have not been clarified, nor has whether the app will reappear in the App Store.

Up until now, Blockchain has been the only bitcoin app available on the market and its million users will now be left without a mobile bitcoin wallet.

A ‘heavy-handed’ decision

One of the app’s contributors, Kyle Drake, has fought back against the unexpected pulling by posting a response to Apple, in which he accused the company of trying to create a bitcoin wallet monopoly on the store.

“These actions by Apple once again demonstrate the anti­competitive and capricious nature of the App Store policies that are clearly focused on preserving Apple’s monopoly on payments rather than based on any consideration of the needs and desires of their users.”

“[The app] had no customer complaints, and a broad user base. The only thing that has changed is that bitcoin has become competitive to Apple’s own payment system. By removing the Blockchain app, the only bitcoin wallet application on the App Store, Apple has eliminated competition using their monopolistic position in the market in a heavy-handed manner.”

The statement also said the Blockchain team had not been informed at any point about the app’s removal and Apple’s brief explanation amounted to ‘because we said so’.

The Blockchain team plans to challenge the decision in the hopes of returning the app to the App Store. The Android version of the app remains on the Google Play store, which the team believes has a much more open platform for innovation in bitcoin technology.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic