Apple made a small but significant change without announcing it onstage today at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco: It is now accepting “approved virtual currency” apps into the App Store.
That could turn out to be great news for Bitcoin fans, including Coinbase and other cryptocurrency wallets that haven’t yet been able to grab some iPhone screen space.
From the App Store’s newly revised guidelines:
Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions
With that said, the key word here is “approved.” Exactly which currencies are approved seems to still be undefined.
Furthermore, as some folks debated on Hacker News, “virtual currencies” might not even mean cryptocurrencies or digital currencies (Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and so on). There is a chance this could refer to virtual currencies one can purchase in a mobile games or apps, although the U.S. Treasury seems to treat Bitcoin and its ilk as a “virtual currency.”
But if it does mean good news for Bitcoin (and Bitcoin news blog OnBitcoin thinks so), it would likely mean the readmission of digital wallets such as Coinbase and Blockchain. Coinbase originally released its iOS wallet app on Oct. 22, 2013, but announced on NOv. 15 that the App Store had removed its app. Blockchain, the last one to get the boot, was officially kicked out in February.
The guidelines warn app developers that if their submissions are not approved, the App Store has a Review Board they can appeal to. But talking to the press? Not advised: “If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps,” the App Store guidelines conclude.