Apple has issued an “App Store Review Guidelines” document on its developer website which appears to allow for apps transmitting bitcoins.
This comes months after Apple made enemies in the Bitcoin world when they removed the Blockchain app from its App Store, citing an “unresolved issue”. This was the last of bitcoin wallet apps to be removed following Coinbase’s removal in November. Another by Gliph had to cut out payment functionality in order to remain in the store.
Some lobbied iPhone users to switch to Android and even shared guidelines on how to get out of contracts.
The document contains hundreds of miscellaneous guidelines for app development. Buried at the end of Section 11, which deals with purchasing and currency related matters, is the piece on virtual currencies:
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“Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions.”
Some have wondered what is meant by an “approved virtual currency”. Skeptics believe that it will give Apple more “wiggle room” to reject apps.
Others still are furthering conspiracy theories of Apple’s anti-Bitcoin position, musing that it’s all a ploy to get people to buy more iPhones. The latest terminology of iPump and iDump seems to be gaining traction as well.
The reason for the sudden shift in policy is unclear. Google’s Android has never imposed such restrictions on bitcoin-related apps, save for those acting maliciously. In general, Apple has been struggling to keep pace with the increasingly popular Android and perhaps have been actively reviewing initiatives on how to grow their competitive edge.