Apple blocked Coinbase from adding new features to its iOS app, especially the ability to earn money with cryptocurrency and decentralized finance (DeFi) apps.
Coinbase against Apple
Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, has been struggling to get additional functions approved for their iOS app; CEO Brian Armstrong got into the detail of his company’s experience dealing with Apple Inc. last Friday. “In the wake of other companies struggling with Apple’s App Store restrictions, I want to share a bit about Coinbase’s own struggle here,” he began, elaborating:
“We’ve tried discussing this through regular channels with Apple, and I reached out directly to leadership to request a dialog, but we seem to be at a dead end,” he posted on Twitter.
Armstrong critiqued Apple for prohibiting iOS users from the choice of receiving through cryptocurrencies during this coronavirus-led financial crisis. “There are many unbanked and underbanked people in the world who have no ability to get a loan to buy a home, or start a business, so this kind of technology has enormous potential to improve the world over time, even if it is still early days,” the CEO wrote.
He then revealed that Apple had banned Coinbase from providing a list of decentralized apps to consumers on the iOS platform, further claiming that the Coinbase app “offers cryptocurrency transactions in non-embedded software within the app, which is not appropriate for the App Store.” Nevertheless, Armstrong continued, “Dapps or Defi apps are fundamentally just websites that you can access through any browser. So Apple is essentially saying you can’t provide users with a list of websites they can visit through an app.”
The digital asset strategist and director at Vaneck and MVIS, Gabor Gurbacs, enlightened: “Apple is a company and the Appstore is their own product/property, not a public utility. It often feels like some product and services should be more open or easier to use but ultimately it’s the company’s/owner’s decision … similar to how Coinbase decides which tokens to list.” Lawyer Jake Chervinsky also commented: “Apple wants to be your bank. Defi is bad for business.”
On the other hand, Coinbase’s CEO stressed that his company’s iOS apps lack some features that users want since his teams have not gotten to them, but because “those features are being censored by Apple.” Armstrong sustained:
“Forcing users to use the App Store instead of Dapps (websites), or IAP [in-app purchase] instead of crypto payments, reminds me of what Microsoft did back in the day (forcing users to use IE if you were on Windows) which led to all their antitrust issues,” the Coinbase CEO discoursed.