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Apple’s Removal of Damus App Raises Concerns About Bitcoin

Apple removes Bitcoin-based social app Damus from its app store, prompting criticism from Block CEO Jack Dorsey and raising concerns about Apple’s stance on Bitcoin.

Key Points

  • Apple removes Bitcoin-based social app Damus from its app store due to its “zaps” feature allowing peer-to-peer Bitcoin tipping.
  • Damus argues that zaps don’t unlock content and refuses to remove the functionality, leading to its imminent removal.
  • Jack Dorsey defends Damus and questions Apple CEO Tim Cook on why Apple Pay doesn’t support Bitcoin.
  • The incident raises concerns about Apple’s stance on Bitcoin and its support for decentralized technologies.

Block CEO Jack Dorsey recently criticized Apple CEO Tim Cook for not supporting Bitcoin payments due to Apple’s policies. Dorsey’s comments were prompted by Apple’s decision to remove the Bitcoin-based social app, Damus, from its app store.

Bitcoin-Based Social App Damus Faces App Store Removal

Damus is a decentralized social media app that utilizes Nostr, a Bitcoin-based protocol that enables information and message exchange in a censorship-resistant manner. The app includes a feature called “zaps,” which allows users to tip each other in Bitcoin over the lightning network. These transactions are completely peer-to-peer, with Damus not taking any cut.

However, two weeks ago, Apple deemed this feature to be in violation of its terms of service. While Apple allows optional tips and donations, it forbids payments that are required in exchange for digital content. Damus, which argued that zaps don’t unlock any content, refused to remove the functionality from its app.

On Monday, Damus received another notification from Apple, indicating that its removal from the app store was imminent. Damus expressed its frustration on Twitter, stating that Apple’s suggested fix was to use Apple Pay. Damus criticized this solution, stating that it would only consider Apple Pay if it supported censorship-resistant, peer-to-peer payments worldwide.


Jack Dorsey Defends Damus and Questions Tim Cook

Upon hearing the news of Damus’s removal, Jack Dorsey swiftly came to its defense. He emphasized that tips do not unlock content, echoing Damus’s argument. The following day, he directly called out Tim Cook on Twitter, asking why Apple Pay doesn’t support Bitcoin.

Dorsey further criticized Apple, stating that Damus was removed from the app store because it enabled tipping to everyone without the need for a bank, payment card, or government permission. Previously, Dorsey had praised Nostr as one of the only two technologies that were truly censorship-resistant at scale, alongside Bitcoin itself.

While Tim Cook hasn’t shown interest in adding Bitcoin to Apple’s balance sheet, he has confirmed his personal ownership of some coins. This incident raises concerns about Apple’s stance on Bitcoin and its support for decentralized technologies.

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