Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is questioned about the lack of Bitcoin support in Apple Pay as the Bitcoin-friendly app Damus faces potential removal from the App Store.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has questioned Apple CEO Tim Cook on Twitter over the lack of Bitcoin support in Apple Pay in the midst of the developing dispute between Apple and the Bitcoin-friendly software Damus.
This action was taken shortly after Apple announced that Damus would be removed from the App Store for breaking the platform’s terms of service. Tim Cook is specifically questioned in Dorsey’s tweet: “@tim_cook, why doesn’t Apple Pay support bitcoin?”
The tweet from Dorsey quoted a message from Damus, which displayed a recommendation from an App Store reviewer suggesting the use of Apple Pay as a means to resolve the violations.
Damus founder William Casarin revealed that Apple had threatened to delist the app for breaching in-app purchase guidelines. Damus allowed users to provide tips or “zaps” using Bitcoin for content, contrary to Apple’s preference for transactions through Apple Pay, which does not support cryptocurrency.
This clash between Apple and Damus has sparked discussions about the extent of Apple’s control over consumer applications. It has also bolstered the argument made by cryptocurrency advocates who seek a financial system resistant to censorship. Cook, who is known to tweet sporadically, has not yet responded to Dorsey’s inquiry.
The inclusion of Bitcoin support in Apple Pay, a service estimated to have over 500 million users, would undoubtedly accelerate the widespread adoption of the cryptocurrency. Damus itself operates as a decentralized social media platform based on the Nostr protocol, favored by Bitcoin enthusiasts due to its compatibility with Lightning Network-based payments. The Lightning Network is Bitcoin’s secondary layer payment network designed to facilitate faster and more cost-effective transactions.
Damus initially debuted on the App Store earlier this year but faced the threat of removal on June 13 due to the presence of “zaps.” These zaps enabled users to send small Bitcoin amounts over the Lightning Network as tips to their favorite content creators, similar to Twitter’s tipping feature. Apple informed CoinDesk that they identified this feature as a violation of their App Store Review Guidelines, specifically sections 3.1.1 and 3.2.1 (vii), related to the sale of digital content.
Casarin explained that Apple insisted on the removal of the zap button from all note or content sections, deeming it equivalent to selling digital content. However, Apple expressed no objection to the presence of the zap button on user profiles.
Casarin attempted to reach a compromise by modifying the Damus interface, removing the ability for users to see zaps on notes but allowing them to be sent and processed solely at the profile level. Unfortunately, Apple deemed this compromise unsatisfactory, leading to further rejection.
Apple confirmed that they engaged in discussions with Casarin and provided clear instructions on how to address the issue. According to Apple, they communicated to Damus that the identified issues should be resolved in the next update. However, upon reviewing the latest submission, Apple found that the issues remained unresolved, leading to the rejection of the app.
Jack Dorsey himself joined the chorus of criticism directed at Apple’s decision, asserting that tips do not equate to unlocking content. In a previous tweet, Dorsey warned that Apple’s potential removal of Damus could impede Bitcoin adoption and hinder the opportunity to develop a truly global payment protocol for the internet. As the CEO of Block, a financial services company with a focus on Bitcoin, Dorsey has contributed substantial amounts to the protocol’s development.
It remains unclear whether the impending removal of Damus stems from a misunderstanding on Apple’s part or signals a broader crackdown on Bitcoin-related applications. On June 14, Apple initially rejected an updated version of the non-custodial Lightning-enabled Bitcoin wallet Zeus but reversed the decision and approved it the following day. Apple asserts that they review all apps based on a standardized set of guidelines aimed at customer