After a recent update to its iTunes policy for developers, Apple (AAPL) has decided to include Bitcoin-related applications, specifically those that promote in-app purchases, in its App Store. Apple was initially skeptical about iOS-based Bitcoin apps, but the newly implemented bylaws permit apps to use the virtual currency so long as they adhere to regional state and federal laws (click here to read more about why Apple must evolve to survive).
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that does not run through any central authority or bank. It is instantly transferable, for no fee, and continues to gain worldwide support. As of June 22, one Bitcoin was equal to $593.68. However, earlier this year, Bitcoins were valued at around $1000 per unit. Although there are many reasonable, and legal, uses for Bitcoin, the digital currency has received much negative attention for illegal drug transactions along the Silk Road.
Coin Pocket is the first virtual currency-centric application allowed on Apple’s App Store, under its new policies. The app allows users to send and receive Bitcoins from their iOS devices. It also updates users about the ever-changing price index of Bitcoins. In other words, think of Coin Pocket as the new Venmo.
Interestingly, Coin Pocket was previously available on iTunes, but was removed by Apple due to the company’s concern over criminal activity. Coin Pocket’s developers were initially able to circumvent Apple’s bylaws by making it an HTML5 application. This platform, although not native to iOS, proved extremely popular. Many people even speculated that Apple removed the app because of the competition it introduced to Apple’s payment systems.
Apple’s acceptance of Coin Pocket is a huge milestone for Bitcoin. Given Apple’s widespread reputation, and its indirect acknowledgement of the digital currency, Bitcoins are now more readily available and legitimate. Furthermore, the increasing prevalence of Bitcoins in businesses may result in its emergence as a universally accepted currency.