[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap]pple has recently approved Bitple for the App Store. Bitple is a virtual Bitcoin trading simulator that allows users to experience trading Bitcoin with fake money. The user is given $10,000 of play money and is then left on their own to create buy and sell orders and to try to generate a profit from trading Bitcoin.
Apple has had a very strict Anti-Bitcoin policy since late 2013. There have not been a Bitcoin wallet available since February 6th when the last remaining wallet called Blockchain was removed from the store. The terms and conditions of the App Store state:
Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer’s obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.
Two very different approaches
Though Bitcoin is not illegal in the United States, Apple might see Bitcoin as a potential threat to their business. Apple has banned Bitcoin wallets yet apps like PayPal and Square have not been banned, even though they deal in ‘digital currency’ just like Bitcoin.
Google has taken the opposite stance and allows Android users to download fully functional wallets from the Google Play Store. Google has even alluded to plans to deal in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The Google director of ideas Jared Cohen has said that:
I think it’s very obvious to all of us that cryptocurrencies are inevitable
Google sees cryptocurrencies as the future of payments, while Apple sees them as a threat to their company. Both companies have different opinions on Bitcoin, and both might try to integrate their own ‘cryptocurrencies’ in the future.
Many people believe that Apple sees Bitcoin as a threat to their sales, and Bitcoin wallets would encourage users to spend money on Bitcoin rather than purchasing new apps or music. Apple might be planning some digital payment system for the future; however, nothing definitive has been announced. Apple also gets a 30% cut off of in-app purchases. If customers were able to use Bitcoin for these same purchases, Apple wouldn’t receive anything.
Bitple was accepted by the App Store and has more features than any other Bitcoin app on the App Store. Bitple gives users the opportunity to see how the Bitcoin market works while trading at current prices. Most other Bitcoin apps only do things like list the Bitcoin price, or offer a guide to better understand the system. Bitple is the first app in a long time to be released with features that were likely to be banned by Apple. It is very important to note that the Bitple app does not allow you to trade actual money or Bitcoin; it is just a simulation.
Bitple allows users to trade in real time at the current exchange prices and create their own buy and sell orders. For new users who were interested in getting involved with Bitcoin, but didn’t want to spend actual money on it without testing the waters, this app is a good solution and might increase the growth of Bitcoin for Apple users.
So what’s next?
Both Apple and Google have very different stances on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The future for both companies in the new era of payment is still unknown, however, it is possible that both companies might implement a new digital payment system of their own. Bitple might be a step in the right direction for more Cryptocurrency Apps to pop up on the Apple App Store.
Featured image by Philippe Sainte-Marie.