Apple compels Coinbase to change its crypto products, says CEO. Brian Armstrong, the CEO of U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, says Apple is stifling progress in crypto and sidelining DeFi to protect itself from the competition. In a Twitter thread posted on Sept. 11, Armstrong doubled down on his earlier claims that Apple continues to block some functionalities for cryptocurrency developers.
The CEO claimed that other cryptocurrency firms are “reluctant to speak out on these topics for fear of retaliation,” but that he feels the need to speak out as Coinbase has exhausted regular channels for dialog with Apple and has reached a “dead end.”
According to Armstrong, Apple has told Coinbase that it is banned from adding two specific functionalities to its iOS apps: the ability to earn money using cryptocurrency and access to decentralized finance (DeFi) apps.
The first restriction, which affects the exchange’s Coinbase Earn product, has reportedly led to Coinbase having to modify its app in a way that is significantly less user friendly.
The CEO alleges that these restrictions are specific to cryptocurrency users, stating, “Why would Apple want to prevent people from earning money during a recession? They seem to not be ok with it, if it uses cryptocurrency.” For iOS users, Armstrong claimed, crypto apps lack features not because of developers’ inactivity but because those features are “being censored by Apple.”
Noting that DApps and DeFi apps can regardless be accessed via a web browser on any smartphone, Armstrong claimed that Apple’s decision is motivated by a “conflict of interest.”
While these restrictions “are ostensibly designed to protect customers, it increasingly looks like they are also protecting Apple from competition,” he wrote.
By forcing users to use the Apple App Store instead of DApps, or In-App Purchases instead of crypto payments, Armstrong claimed that Apple’s actions have a parallel in Microsoft’s past antitrust issues when it compelled Windows users to use its proprietary browser, Internet Explorer.
During the coronavirus crisis, when underbanked or unbanked populations may face even greater difficulties accessing traditional financial services, Armstrong accused Apple of placing yet a further barrier to financial inclusion.
[image: Alexandr Bormotin]