Apple Bans Bitcoin Mining in New Developer Guidelines

Apple has introduced new developer guidelines that contain a sweeping ban on cryptocurrency mining, a sign the world’s most profitable company was carving out an explicit policy for apps and related services tied to the booming crypto economy.

Mining Ban

Apple’s sprawling App Store has updated its guidelines to address new developments in the cryptocurrency industry. In a section titled Hardware Compatibility, the company outlines that “apps, including third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining.”

The App Store guidelines now include an entire section on cryptocurrency, touching upon approved apps and services related to virtual exchanges, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and mining.

In Section 3.1.5 (b), the guidelines state:

Wallet apps that facilitate cryptocurrency storage are permitted, provided they are offered by developers enrolled in an organization;Apps may not perform mining unless it is conducted via cloud computing;Apps facilitating ICO trading are permitted only if they are offered by regulated institutions abiding by relevant securities laws;Apps providing cryptocurrency payments for completing certain tasks are not permitted.

The guidelines were released after the Developers Union successfully lobbied Apple to publish its free apps.

Cryptocurrency Apps

Apple’s stance on cryptocurrency is much stricter than its rivals at Google Play. About four years ago, the Cupertino-based company removed all bitcoin-related applications as part of a crackdown on cryptocurrency activity. Around the same time, the company de-listed Coinbase, citing an “unresolved issue.” Apple has also asked businesses to to stop supporting cryptocurrencies on their apps.

The ban on mining could prevent cyber criminals from exploiting customers through covert operations, as well as limit developers’ ability to consume reams of processing power from Apple devices. That largely explains why the new guidelines make explicit mention of cloud-based mining.

At the time of writing, cryptocurrency cloud mining apps are readily available on the App Store.

Apple may be vindicated in its strict approach to cryptocurrency apps if one considers the recent wave of cyber attacks targeting the industry. In December, it was estimated that more than 10,000 people had downloaded fake cryptocurrency apps designed to defraud users.

Digital currency applications continue to grow in popularity as more traders embrace crypto assets. Exchanges have poured significant capital into updating their mobile app services to enable mobile trading and cold storage.

Meanwhile, crypto traders routinely make use of apps such as Telegram, which has become the de facto platform for ICO communities.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi