Recently, Apple's App Store made the decision to once again accept Blockchain's bitcoin wallet. The move came about following the removal of Blockchain from the App Store earlier this year.
Since the removal, Blockchain has completely rewritten its new iOS wallet, further emphasizing usability and security. The wallet is already offered on Android devices.
Prior to Apple's decision to remove all apps that allowed cryptocurrency transactions, Blockchain served as the most popular Bitcoin wallet for iOS devices.
Following Apple's unexplained pull of Blockchain, bitcoin users were left reeling. The wallet had been available on the App Store for more than two years and enjoyed more than 100,000 downloads. After the removal, Blockchain issued a statement recriminating Apple for their capricious and anti-competitive policies.
After Apple's decision to pull Blockchain from the store, the only explanation Apple provided was a reference to an unresolved issue in an email sent to Blockchain. While requests were made for further comment, Apple elected to remain silent on the matter.
In response to the move, many bitcoin users resorted to calling the tech giant a bully and even threatened to toss their iPads and iPads while opting for Google's Android, as the bitcoin wallet remained available on that platform in the Google Play Store. Once Apple pulled Blockchain, users were still able to run the app on their devices, but were no longer able to obtain software updates through Apple. At the time, there were more than one million Blockchain users around the world. Even more disconcerting was the fact that before it was pulled, Blockchain was the only bitcoin wallet available to Apple users.
Bitcoin advocates further expressed immediate concern that Apple had chosen to distance itself from a business community that has grown ever increasing of bitcoin. According to the CEO of Blockchain, the company plowed more than $100,000 in developing the software behind the app.
Even more surprising was the fact that Apple did not immediately yank other Bitcoin-associated apps. Dozens of other apps related to bitcoin remained in the Apple App Store. Apple's decision to remove Blockchain came conspicuously around the same time that the CEO of the Bitcoin Exchange BitInstant was charged with laundering money for customers of the infamous Silk Road. Around the same time, lawmakers called for increased regulation of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
Blockchain is not the only bitcoin-related app to be pulled from the Apple store, however. A wallet known as BitPack shut down operations completely after it was booted from the App Store last year. Coinbase, another well-known bitcoin wallet, was also ditched by Apple last November, after being available on the App Store for less than a month. While Blockchain had been available on the App Store since April 2012, it had been dumped at one time before being reinstated by Apple.
Following Blockchain's second pull from the App Store, the CEO of the Bitcoin wallet, Nicolas Cary, stated that he believe the app was pulled because it was seen as a prospective competitor by Apple. Cary went on to clarify that he believed Apple was working to position itself to be able to accept mobile payments, although no such statements had been made to the public. He further emphasized his statement by pointing out that bitcoin was still accepted by Android and both Coinbase and Blockchain were available on Google Play.
Since then, Apple has been seen softening their stance when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Just four months after pulling Blockchain, Apple opted to update store guidelines that would allow apps focused on cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin. Under the new guidelines, apps are allowed for transmitting virtual currencies provided that such apps do not break any laws. No further clarification was provided regarding the new rules, however.
Blockchain is not the only cryptocurrency service to join Apple's App store. Gliph, the messaging service that allows users to transmit bitcoin, was also recently welcomed by Apple. For its part, Blockchain makes it possible for users to make exchanges between wallets. In addition, iPad and iPhone users are able to purchase services and products from businesses that also accept Bitcoin. Easily the most popular Bitcoin wallet in the world, Blockchain doubled its number of users this year to almost 2 million.
Users of Blockchain will notice a change to the app. Featuring a complete redesign, Blockchain now offers a simple but elegant experience that is designed to make it easy for both new and current bitcoin users to utilize the wallet. A new Android application was also recently unveiled by the company during the North American Bitcoin Conference, held in Chicago. Similar to the application for iOS, the new Android app version has been completely redesigned and offers several new features, such as a transaction view, wallet dashboard, and location-based merchant directory.
The announcement that Apple has once again welcomed Bitcoin back into the fold, enabling iOS users to enjoy access to Bitcoin Apps serves as further legitimization of bitcoin.