Apple has hinted that it might begin allowing Bitcoin-transaction apps

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.”

Late last year, a series of app removals hit bitcoin wallets, causing folks in the industry to panic over Apple’s stance on the “virtual currency.” When that happened, I wrote a piece about exactly how Apple felt about bitcoin, as the company wasn’t talking publicly. In the piece, I stated the following: “Bitcoin is not illegal, but it is also not legally recognized by governments as a currency. This gray area is what is leading Apple to reject Bitcoin-transaction apps. Apple is simply taking the safest, most protective path by disallowing transaction functionality in App Store apps — for now. As to how Apple might handle Bitcoin transactions in apps in the future, look to how it handles gambling apps, also covered in the App Store rules. For states or countries that allow gambling — like Nevada or the UK — Apple allows apps to use geo-fencing to restrict activities to those regions. A similar system could be put in place to allow Bitcoin transactions in places where it has been deemed ‘legal’ by a government entity.”

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