Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who now heads Bitcoin-focused financial services firm Block, is stepping up his efforts to understand why Apple, the computer and smartphone giant, does not offer support for bitcoin on its mobile payment service, Apple Pay. The issue came to light on Tuesday when Apple indicated to the Bitcoin-friendly social media app Damus that it may be removed from the App Store for violating the platform’s terms of service.
Dorsey took to Twitter to address Apple CEO Tim Cook, asking why Apple Pay doesn’t support bitcoin. He quoted a tweet from Damus that showed an App Store reviewer suggesting Apple Pay as a solution to the violations. Damus founder William Casarin stated that Apple threatened to remove Damus for allowing tips or payments in bitcoin, instead of using Apple Pay which does not support cryptocurrency. This showdown has reignited discussions about the extent of Apple’s power over consumer applications, and has validated the push from cryptocurrency advocates for a censorship-resistant financial system.
With over a million users, incorporating bitcoin into Apple Pay would have a significant impact on mass adoption of the cryptocurrency. Damus is a decentralized social media platform that operates on the Nostr protocol, which is popular among Bitcoin users due to its support for Lightning Network payments. Lightning Network is Bitcoin’s second-layer payment network, designed to facilitate faster and more cost-effective transactions.
Damus was made available on the App Store earlier this year, but faced the threat of delisting in June due to the inclusion of its “zap” feature. This feature allows users to send small amounts of bitcoin to content creators as tips, similar to Twitter’s “Tip Jar” feature. Apple claimed that this violated its App Store Review Guidelines and considered it equivalent to selling digital content. Casarin attempted to find a compromise by removing all note zapping functionality, but Apple was not satisfied with the resolution.
Despite engaging in discussions with Apple and making modifications to the app, Casarin’s resubmission was rejected for failing to address the outlined issues. Apple stated that they had clearly communicated the necessary steps for resolution, but the developer failed to meet the requirements.
Dorsey, known for his support of Bitcoin, expressed his disagreement with Apple’s decision, arguing that tips do not unlock content. He previously warned that Apple cutting off Damus could hinder Bitcoin adoption and hinder the untapped potential for growth in this field.
The ongoing dispute between Damus and Apple highlights the contentious relationship between major tech giants and the world of cryptocurrency. It underscores the need for a financial system resistant to censorship and control by centralized authorities. Whether Apple will eventually embrace Bitcoin and incorporate it into Apple Pay remains uncertain. However, the conversation sparked by this clash will undoubtedly fuel the ongoing debate over the role of cryptocurrencies in mainstream financial services.