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Apple Publishes Revised Cryptocurrency, ICO Guidelines for App Store

Samburaj Das

Apple has revealed its revised guidelines in a dedicated section for iOS and MacOS apps centered on the cryptocurrency space.

As bitcoin prices peaked near $20,000 in December 2017, Apple unveiled a new section of guidelines specific to cryptocurrencies and ICOs on December 20th.  For instance, apps facilitating any exchange or transfer of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin were mandated to abide in compliance with all federal and relevant state laws of its offering. Under the mandated rules.

On Monday June 4th, Apple expanded on those crypto-centric guidelines with several key inclusions into specific functionalities like wallet storage and mining for apps on its App Store platform.

To keep its hardware, think iPhones, from draining battery or computing power, Apple has now forbid app developers from including any 3rd party advertisements that run cryptocurrency mining. The move comes at a time when ‘cryptojacking’, a malware attack wherein malicious attackers scrumptiously hijack a computer or a phone’s computing power to mine cryptocurrencies, is a growing menace.

“Apps, including any third-party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining,” the updated policy reads.

Apple has also outlawed apps from mining cryptocurrencies on the device altogether.

An excerpt from the revised guidelines states:

Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device (e.g. cloud-based mining).

ICO Norms

In sticking with the original mandate, only mainstream banks and similar financial institutions will be allowed to develop and publish apps enabling crypto futures trading and initial coin offerings, Apple said.

“Apps facilitating Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), cryptocurrency futures trading, and other crypto-securities or quasi-securities trading must come from established banks, securities firms, futures commission merchants (“FCM”), or other approved financial institutions and must comply with all applicable law,” read the unchanged policy first unveiled in December.

Wallets, Exchanges and Rewards

Four years ago, Apple removed every single bitcoin wallet application on its App Store, including popular wallet app Blockchain. The technology giant reversed its stance soon after, despite pulling moves like removing multi-cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx after its disapproval of Dash in 2016.

Speaking to CCN at the time, Jaxx CEO Anthony Di Iorio revealed Apple had stuck to approving a select six cryptocurrencies, namely: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ripple and the then DAO token.

Apple has previously blocked apps for supporting cryptocurrencies it disapproves of.

In July 2017, Apple ‘approved’ Dash as a cryptocurrency.

Six months after crypto exchange Coinbase’s app became the number one trending app on the App Store, Apple has now apps to provide wallet services under a caveat. “Apps may facilitate virtual currency storage, provided they are offered by developers enrolled as an organization,” the policy states.

Similarly, Apple is also allowing apps to facilitate crypto transactions “on an approved exchange, provided they are offered by the exchange itself.”

Finally, the world’s most valuable company has also mandated that apps do not offer cryptocurrency as rewards to users for completing tasks.

It states:

Cryptocurrency apps may not offer currency for completing tasks, such as downloading other apps, encouraging other users to download, posting to social networks, etc.

Images from Shutterstock.


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