Brian Armstrong, CEO of the United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, has been harshly critical lately of Apple’s App Store review process. He’s gone so far as to label Cupertino’s decisions as based on a “conflict of interest,” not protecting users. According to Armstrong, Apple is stifling cryptocurrency innovation. The tech giant is also hindering developers’ work with decentralized finance DeFi) apps to protect itself from innovation.
DeFi, Crypto Apps’ Lack of Features and Cryptocurrency Innovation
Coinbase, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, helps support DeFi by providing its users with a list of decentralized finance applications. These are basically just websites that allow folks to have a global, open alternative to all of their financial services. These can range from savings and loans to investment trading and insurance.
Unfortunately, that’s a feature the exchange can only offer iPhone and iPad users via its own website. When the developers behind Coinbase’s iOS app tried to include the feature, Apple rejected the update. Cupertino’s justification, according to information provided to Cointelegraph, was that the “app offers cryptocurrency transactions in non-embedded software within the app, which is not appropriate for the App Store.”
Other features, such as preventing users from utilizing the Coinbase Earn program, have likewise been rejected. This cryptocurrency innovation allows crypto owners to earn money on their investments. Armstrong, in a series of tweets on September 11, asked, “Why would Apple want to prevent people from earning money during a recession?”
Recently Apple announced a way for developers to suggest updates to the App Store policies. Our team is planning to submit a formal request for Apple to allow its users to earn crypto and see a list of decentralized finance apps. We’ll keep you updated on what we hear back.
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) September 11, 2020
The truth is, Apple has discouraged app developers from providing means for buying and selling cryptocurrency with real money since June 2018, unless the apps “come from established banks, securities firms, futures commission merchants, or other approved financial institutions.”
Compelling Cryptocurrency Transactions Through Its Own Marketplace
Right now, Apple requires developers to use the App Store instead of DApps, applications utilizing the DeFi philosophy. Cupertino also forces the use of In-App Purchases instead of crypto payments. According to Armstrong, Apple’s behavior parallels that involved in Microsoft’s past antitrust issues. He refers to the days when Microsoft forced users to use its own web browser, Internet Explorer.
These restrictions, according to Armstrong, smack of anticompetitive behavior. “While they are ostensibly designed to protect customers, it increasingly looks like they are also protecting Apple from competition,” the CEO tweeted.
Coinbase Pleads with Apple to Encourage Cryptocurrency Innovation
Armstrong says that other crypto developers won’t speak out for fear of retaliation. However, Coinbase refuses to keep mum on the topic. Within his series of tweets, the executive called on Cupertino to quit its policies that stifle cryptocurrency innovation. Coinbase is more than willing to cooperate with Apple to make new features lucrative for everyone involved.
We would like to work with you productively on this. Some day, cryptocurrency could even be integrated into IAP to give people in emerging markets better access to the financial system globally.
In its goal of trying to encourage Apple to improve its handling of cryptocurrency innovation, Coinbase is planning to submit its own formal request to Apple to amend its App Store policies.