Blockchain CEO calls Apple a 'gatekeeper on innovation' after Bitcoin wallet pulled from the App Store
Apple last week removed a Bitcoin wallet app called Blockchain from the App Store, prompting Blockchain CEO Nicholas Cary to lay out some harsh words for Apple.
In a video interview with CNBC, Cary said Apple was a "gatekeeper on innovation" and that the company removed the app without providing any sort of viable explanation. What Apple ultimately told Cary via a succinct email was that the app was removed "due to an unresolved issue."
Cary theorizes that the app was likely removed because Apple is planning to get into the mobile payments space and that they therefore view Blockchain as a competing service. Notably, Blockchain has been on the App Store since July of 2012, which only serves to add a layer of confusion as to the app's abrupt removal.
"Apple has telegraphed they'll do something on top of the hundreds of millions of credit cards they have on their system," Cary told CNBC. "Bitcoin represents a major threat to any revenue model they may try to build. Anything they do with credit cards is not going to be innovative. Bitcoin is."
In fact, Blockchain isn't the only Bitcoin-based app to have been shown the door in recent months.
Applications to monitor the price of Bitcoin or access related news are still available on the store. Coinbase Inc. and Gliph Inc., two San Francisco-based startups that let users transact, are also no longer on Apple's App Store.
Fred Ehrsam, the CEO of Coinbase, said the app was removed in November. Rob Banagale, CEO of Gliph, said Apple allowed the the company's app on the store, provided it removed the ability to send and receive Bitcoins.
While Bitcoin has a vocal group of proponents, keep in mind that the digital currency is not without its fair share of controversy and practical hurdles. To that end, Apple's wariness of apps that facilitate Bitcoin transactions is not completely surprising or unwarranted. Just this Friday, The Verge reported on a slew of Coinbase thefts that left some Bitcoin users up to $10,000 out of pocket.
On a related note, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, who formerly worked as an engineer at both PayPal and Facebook, eloquently describes two challenges facing Bitcoin in a great post on Quora that's a must-read for anyone with an interest in Bitcoin and its alleged potential to become a viable form of trade.
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