Apple’s Rules for Virtual Currencies Are Interminably Vague
This whitelist has a lot of gray.
Apple's developer guidelines are keeping some virtual currencies from its App Store, it won't say which guidelines, or why they affect some currencies and not others.
One company is slowly finding out where Apple draws the line with regards to bitcoin alternatives in the course of a forehead-slapping back and forth with the tech giant.
Virtual currency wallet Jaxx, which was developed by Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio, announced that it would add iOS support for Ethereum competitor Ethereum Classic in early September. (Ethereum Classic is the original version of Ethereum, which persisted against the odds after Ethereum proper split off in an attempt to save millions of dollars worth of the currency from a hacker.)
The app was denied by Apple.
Days later, though, Jaxx made it onto the App Store without Ethereum Classic, and without another currency, Dash, that was supported in a previous version of Jaxx on the App Store. Jaxx on the Android store supports both Dash and Ethereum Classic, leaving observers to wonder, what are Apple's guidelines for virtual currencies?
"I got a call from Apple saying that we had to remove Dash from the wallet," said Di Iorio. "They said they mistakenly put it up, and that we had to take it down."
"I believe Classic wasn't accepted because it had Dash in the same build," Di Iorio continued. "But that's just my guess."
It's a guess, Di Iorio said, because Apple will only say which currencies it does support, and won't explain why others don't fit the bill.
An Apple spokesperson told Motherboard that Apple supports Bitcoin, as well as alternatives Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ripple, DAO, Ethereum, Steem, Lisk and digi.cash. Apps using other currencies do not adhere to Apple's guidelines. The spokesperson would not provide further comment, and directed me to the company's guidelines for developers, which do not expand on Apple's policies regarding acceptable virtual currencies.
It's worth noting that the DAO is a failed experiment on Ethereum that was hacked for millions of dollars in June, and was the cause for the split that created Classic in the first place. Steemit, a content monetization platform and a cryptocurrency, has been called out as a possible pyramid scheme as recently as last month.
Di Iorio said that Jaxx will attempt to bring Ethereum Classic to the App Store again, within the next week or so, but without Dash support. Only then, he said, will Apple's rules about Ethereum Classic in particular be made clear.
But companies that wish to bring pretty much any other cryptocurrency to iPhone users will still be feeling around in the dark.