Apple Orders Coinbase to Remove Crypto App

No more fun and games

Apple Inc. has never been overtly supportive nor has ever endorsed cryptocurrency related apps and programs, often removing certain elements linked to cryptocurrencies from the App Store in the past. The matter came to a climax when in August of 2018, it was revealed that Apple has directed Coinbase to remove a crypto app from their platform. Although no concrete reason was given by the company, many people suspect that the app violated certain clauses of their terms and conditions.

If reports are to be believed, a “soon-to-be-released” crypto collectible game called War Riders was withdrawn after a directive from Apple’s App Store. The game was featured briefly on Coinbase’s iOS app, before suddenly vanishing. The app was developed by a company called Cartified Inc.

Reasons for removal

War Riders, which was a game included inside Coinbase, allowed players to drive around an “apocalyptic” world, where they could build up armies of vehicles. However, such vehicles were represented by non-fungible tokens called NFTs, however, critics argue that Apple’s terms and conditions do not specifically forbid NFTs and reasons for removal remain unclear.

According to a Coinbase official, “Quick heads up – we will be removing from the iOS version as we’re not able to highlight dApps that facilitate purchase of digital goods.”

War Riders is still available readily on the Android app market, but will not be available on iOS. This is due to the complicated relationship Apple has with the crypto-space. Prior to this incident, Cryptokitties, a famous dApp for buying and breeding digital cats, was outright excluded from its App Store. The Coinbase wallet app itself was removed for a short period of time two years prior.

Coinbase logo crypto app
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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

About the app

As soon as War Riders was included into Coinbase’s list of dApps, controversy erupted. According to the development firm behind the game, Cartified, the app is currently “selling premium vehicles, of which there are only 30,000 … of a maximum 1,180,000 vehicles throughout the whole game.” The app also uses an ERC-20 token called Benzene (BZN) within the game as money. BZN is awarded to players through caches that are algorithmically generated by the game within its world.

The game itself seems well suited to attract fans of post-apocalyptic scenarios, even those that are tired of the same old, same old design. The CEO noted, “These vehicles will also be modernized and will not be from the 70s like it is in the most post-apocalyptic games.”

Apple has a very complicated history when it comes to dealing with similar cryptocurrency apps. It was only in June 2018 that Apple updated its App Store guidelines to explicitly ban the collection of information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing. An Apple spokesperson stated, “With the latest update to our guidelines, we made it explicitly clear that Apps should not collect information about which other Apps are installed on a user’s device, for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used.”

With national governments and major regulatory bodies around the world, taking a harsh stance against cryptocurrency trading, it is only natural for multinational corporations like Apple to follow suit. Fortunately for fans of the game, it is still available on the Android market.

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Kaustav Das
Kaustav Das is a staff writer for Block Telegraph. He has been a tech journalist since 2016 and covers blockchain and cryptocurrency related topics on a daily basis.

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