Tuesday 3 June 2014 4:50 am

Apple gives Bitcoin apps new hope

Apple's latest update to its app store guidelines may have opened the way to allow apps that deal in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Apps for transmitting "approved virtual currencies" may be permitted so long as they do not break any laws. However, the tech giant did not provide any clarification regarding its new rules.

The updated clause in the "Purchasing and Currencies" section reads: “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.”

While Apple retains the authority to reject Bitcoin apps, the update appears to be a marked contrast from Apple's previous stance on cryptocurrencies. In February, Apple removed the last Bitcoin wallet from its iOS app stores, offering no explanation for the removal of UK-based Blockchain other than it was due to an "unresolved issue".

The application had been available on the iOS app store for over two years and was downloaded over 120,000 times.

Blockchain responded furiously to the move, issuing a statement on its blog:

These actions by Apple once again demonstrate the anti-competitive and capricious nature of the App Store policies that are clearly focused on preserving Apple’s monopoly on payments rather than based on any consideration of the needs and desires of their users.

The arena of Bitcoin wallets has, so far, been left entirely to Apple's rivals, such as Google's Android. The move completed a series of anti-Bitcoin measures by Apple, which has in the past removed Coinbase and CoinJar from its iOS app store.