Poor Bitcoins, that controversial and unregulated coin of the virtual realm, just can’t seem to catch a break.
Just when you think the currency is gaining traction, stuff happens. In a recent post, my colleague Heather Somerville reported on the personal-finance tool Mint beginning to incorporate Bitcoin transactions into its app. Yet now we get word today that Apple has yanked a popular Bitcoin application from its App Store.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Blockchain.info, the software’s developer, got notice from Apple demanding that the app be withdrawn “due to an unresolved issue.” The report quoted Blockchain’s befuddled Brit CEO Nicolas Cary.
“We’ve been there two years,” Cary said in an interview. “What did they just discover that is now unresolved?”
As Bloomberg explained, Bitcoins live in a sort of digital netherworld, essentially software masquerading as real money which is passed back and forth between uses over computing devices. And not everybody is a fan, especially some of the world’s super powers who fear the virtual money does an end run around their sovereign currencies, and law enforcement agencies who’ve been busy rounding up Bitcoin bad guys who use the digital money to deal in illicit goods and services.
With merchants from car dealers and Web stores accepting the digital money, mobile apps have become a popular commerce tool. At the same time, some governments including China and India have questioned Bitcoin’s legal status. Since Apple requires apps to be legal in all territories that they’re offered, many Bitcoin-related programs for Apple’s iOS mobile software don’t offer the ability to send money.
Apple, as usual, declined to comment on the report. So we’ll all just have wait and see what Blockchain’s CEO finds out about this mysterious “issue” is and whether he’s able to “resolve” it.