Bitcoin apps on the iPhone? Apple courts virtual currency as app availability draws nearer

Developments in social media and smartphone applications have paved the way toward new innovation within many industry sectors, FX being one particular example, whereby many FX firms and technology providers alike have become reliant on mobile applications and cross-network social media in order to attain greater trading volume from retail clients.

The demand for applications for the purposes of trading currencies has become so great that their development has now gone outside the realms of specific FX technology providers, and into the mainstream smartphone operating systems as Apple prepares to allow applications which deal in Bitcoin and other digital currencies to be obtained via its App Store.

Apple has produced a clause in its “Purchasing and Currencies” section which reads as follows: “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.”

The legality of Bitcoin differs across jurisdictions and countries. Last year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidelines about virtual currency, saying administrators and exchangers are subject to its regulations, and has not shown any sign that the US authorities will attempt to put a stop to its use for purchasing mainstream items.

An interesting matter to consider is that by offering applications which deal in Bitcoin, an internationally available marketplace via App Store becomes accessible to an internationally universal virtual currency, thus opening the market up for Western companies to launch Bitcoin applications to the much coveted Chinese audience, whose trade via traditional means is hampered by strict capital control laws and governmental disdain toward conducting business with free market nations.

The update to Apple’s terms and conditions was published yesterday, as Apple announced a range of new features and products at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco including OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.

Apple had been firmly opposed to Bitcoin wallet apps, withdrawing them from its App Store. The removals included Blockchain, a popular Bitcoin wallet app that had apparently been on the store for two years with 120,000 downloads.

On the Blockchain blog in February, backers slammed the technology giant for the “anti-competitive and capricious nature of the App Store policies.”

An online petition to allow Bitcoin wallets on iPhone had garnered 6,000 signatures.

Read Also: