Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has banned the bitcoin wallet app Blockchain.info from its App Store, igniting the ire of iPhone users everywhere. According to Bloomberg, many Apple users have been smashing their iPhones to protest what appears to be a vendetta against the popular digital currency.
Apple faces bitcoin backlash
SecondMarket Inc. developed the bitcoin app, and Barry Silbert, CEO of the company and now a former iPhone user, said he would be looking for a new phone over the weekend. Bloomberg uncovered a number of videos from other iPhone users which show them smashing their iPhones or, in one case, even shooting it with a sniper rifle.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has maintained that the reason it bans bitcoin apps is because they must be legal in every geographic location where they are offered. Because bitcoin remains a much-debated topic among the world’s governments, the company has chosen to steer clear. While Apple may simply be choosing to avoid any potential regulatory oversight or problems relating to bitcoin by not supporting apps for it, some have offered a more nefarious reason for Apple’s repeated banning of any and all bitcoin wallet apps.
Bitcoin rises in popularity
Bitcoin has become extremely popular over the past year or so, and mobile apps make it easy for people to pay for transactions using the digital currency. The number of retailers which accept the digital currency as payment is growing rapidly, but still, the number of consumers using it regularly is pretty small, according to Gliph Inc. CEO Rob Banagale.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) allowed Gliph’s app back into the App Store after the company removed the capability of sending and receiving bitcoins. Since removing bitcoin apps affects such a small percentage of Apple’s users, the company may have seen it as being worth the risk.
Apple moving into payments business?
Still, iPhone users downloaded Blockchain.info 120,000 times before Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) removed it from the App Store. The company had already removed several other bitcoin wallet apps, and some speculate that Apple may see bitcoin as a competitor for its yet-to-be-announced payments system.
Bloomberg notes that last month, a source did say that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was exploring a move into the payments business. However, experts like Jerry Brito, director of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center technology program, don’t think Apple’s banning of bitcoin apps has anything to do with competition. He thinks it’s all about complying with the law, although he notes that people will probably continue to speculate about this.