Apple May Welcome Bitcoin Transaction Apps. Or Not. Apple has officially addressed 'virtual currency' in its App Store guidelines, but it's still too early to cry victory for Bitcoin.
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Apple might not be allergic to Bitcoin apps in its App Store after all. At least it seems that way.
The truth is, we don't really know yet. Just because Apple officially updated its App Store Review Guidelines for developers yesterday with a one-sentence clause addressing virtual currencies doesn't mean the Cupertino, Calif., tech titan is ready to accept Bitcoin transaction apps once again. The update marks the first time Apple has ever addressed cryptocurrencies.
The new verbiage simply reads, "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."
What laws? None are officially on the books yet, neither at the state nor federal level. And not one country has deemed Bitcoin illegal. Yet.
Apple infamously killed off all Bitcoin transaction apps from its app marketplace last year, booting virtual wallet apps from biggies like Blockchain.info and Coinbase, along with several similar Bitcoin apps from smaller startups and individuals.
After Apple gave Blockchain.info's wallet app the boot, Nicolas Cary, the company's CEO, speculated that perhaps Apple purged all Bitcoin transaction apps as part of a play to grab its own piece of the fast-growing, increasingly lucrative mobile payments pie.
Now, after reviewing Apple's new, vague virtual currency clarification, Cary is guardedly hopeful. He's not crying victory for Bitcoin just yet.
"Apple hasn't exactly embraced bitcoin with their latest policy statement," he told Entrepreneur.com today. "We're cautiously optimistic. Until some [Bitcoin] apps start to get approved again, we're still in a holding pattern. We're hopeful that Apple quickly starts to approve apps because we would love to invest and build better experiences for iOS. We'll keep our fingers crossed!"
Related: Why Bitcoin is Like 'Email for Money'