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After Policy Change, Bitcoin Apps Back in Apple Store

After Apple Inc. reversed its App Store ban on virtual currency functionality, the first bitcoin-based iOS wallet app is on the market.

Apple made waves by updating its App Store Review Guidelines during the recent Worldwide Developers Conference held June 2-6 in San Francisco. The new guidance states: "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."

With that change in policy, the bitcoin-based Coin Pocket app has reappeared in the App Store, CoinDesk reported yesterday.

Previously, Apple had restricted bitcoin-related app functionality in its store. It reportedly removed the last bitcoin wallet app -- Blockchain -- in February, prompting a charge from bitcoin app vendor Coinpunk that "Apple isn't banning bitcoin apps because of 'legal grounds' (nobody is talking about making bitcoin illegal), they're banning bitcoin apps to anti-competitively prop up their own payments service."

The iOS Coin Pocket app
The iOS Coin Pocket App (source: Enriquez Software LLC)

Bitcoin is an open source peer-to-peer technology that enables virtualized payment systems. "Although its status as a currency is disputed, media reports often refer to bitcoin as a cryptocurrency or digital currency," Wikipedia states. In contrast to Apple, the Google Play app store for Android-base devices lists hundreds of apps with a bitcoin tag, including Blockchain. The Windows Phone store also lists dozens of apps with the bitcoin symbol.

Coin Pocket, reportedly the first app put back into the Apple App Store after the policy reversal, was released yesterday by Enriquez Software LLC, according to its iTunes page. It's a free app used to "send and receive bitcoin from your iOS device." Mike Enriquez, the developer, reported his app was back in the store via a Reddit post on Saturday. "Apple just accepted a native iOS version of CoinPocket into [its] App Store," Enriquez wrote. "It is mostly the same as the HTML5 version except for a few UI changes and of course a built-in QR code scanner."

In further comments on the post, Enriquez wrote: "I wanted to see for myself if Apple would accept a bitcoin wallet into [its] App Store, so I did the easiest thing and wrapped the HTML5 app into an iOS app. Now that I know it is possible to get bitcoin wallets in to the App Store, I can take my time and work on a really awesome iOS app that looks like it belongs on iOS and has better performance."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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