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Apple Inc. Bans Blockchain Wallet

On Wednesday February 5, 2014, Apple inc. launched a fresh skirmish against Bitcoin. Blockchain’s wallet was removed from the App store.
Op-ed - Apple Inc. Bans Blockchain Wallet.

On Wednesday February 5, 2014, Apple inc. launched a fresh skirmish against Bitcoin. Blockchain’s wallet was removed from the App store.

This is the latest in an ongoing war waged by the Apple Corporation against Bitcoin users. Blockchain’s wallet was, for quite some time, all that remained. Leading innovators Coinbase, Gliph, and CoinJar were booted some time ago.

Apple Inc. benefited from an unprecedent corporate revival in the late nineties. The company found new direction, positioning themselves as the “crazy ones”, the “misfits”, “rebels” and “troublemakers”. A new corporate culture developed.

Apple would show “no respect for the status quo.” They would disrupt anywhere that had become stagnate. They did this very well. Those who failed to adapt, died.

But one should always beware, when fighting monsters, to not yourself become a monster.

Apple is right to fear Blockchain

In June of 2012 Apple filed its patent application for ‘iMoney‘: a virtual currency and digital wallet technology.

Apple clearly has designs on both the space Bitcoin occupies and the services that Blockchain provide.

Blockchain are amongst the oldest and most respected innovators: pioneers in the ecosystem. Their application had been on the App Store for 2 years, accumulating more than 120,000 downloads. There were no customer complaints, and there existed a broad user base. I was personally among them.

At its currency level Bitcoin poses a direct threat to Apple’s ambitions. A rapidly growing and hugely innovative Blockchain were necessarily vulnerable.

Bitcoin will shake-up currency, sure. But, more importantly, Bitcoin will shift paradigms.

Apple no doubt fears Bitcoin

Apple stands for control. All offerings are centralized. Its model is based on proprietary ownership of any disruption and all of its components. But you can’t own, control or acquire Bitcoin.

At its deepest level Bitcoin promises to do away with all traditional forms of centralized development and organisation: completely reshaping our ideas of control.

Bitcoin’s core technology acts to, as Cody Wilson notes, “question all previous frameworks”. Apple fears it will not be able to answer.

Bitcoin is therefore, both a philosophical and ideological enemy and an existential threat. Bitcoin as an open source software project, decentralized and operating autonomously, is creating inordinate amounts of value without any point of control.

Apple Inc., more than any other, knows what disruption does to stagnant beasts. Their reaction was predictable and it’s to be pitied. Nothing else should be expected of a Goliath.

Still, Apple does have a choice. They could choose to stand with honour: proving themselves still nimble. They could fight both Blockchain and Bitcoin with innovation. They could proudly attempt to show the superiority of their methods, leading by example.

It’s always the innocents who suffer

Blockchain and Bitcoin will both continue and grow.

In the meantime it is Apple’s customers who will suffer. The same customers Apple is supposed to serve. A truly useful currency and payment system has been taken from them for, as they put it, “unknow reason”.

Blockchain will still bring Bitcoin to the unbanked and underbanked. It will continue to offer access to international financial services with your smartphone.

Millions will still be empowered. Family members will still send money home to support their communities. And charities will still fundraise, aiding those in need.

As of Wednesday, none of this will be done on any iOS device.

It is a shame.

Apple would do well to quickly fill the void with something truly amazing. But is a centralized Apple capable of creating something of greater value than Bitcoin? If a Central Bank can’t do it, why would we expect Apple can?

Maybe Apple will prove us wrong. Perhaps they can disrupt money and completely reshape it in their image. Time always tells.

But if they’re showing this level of hostility already, what will they do with control of your “iMoney”?