Apple bans mining of cryptocurrencies

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Brief:

  • Apple updated its developer guidelines to ban “mining” cryptocurrencies like bitcoin on iPhones and iPads, per Apple Insider. The restriction is part of a broader rule against apps that drain the battery, generate too much heat or put unnecessary strain on the tech giant’s mobile devices, per Apple guidelines released during its Worldwide Developer Conference last week in San Francisco.
  • The ban says apps and any third-party apps displayed in them are not allowed to run unrelated background processes such as cryptocurrency mining. As recently as late last month, the only mention of cryptocurrencies included requirements that apps involved in digital currency transactions comply with state and federal laws.
  • Apple originally established cryptocurrency guidelines in 2014 after the App Store removed Coinbase and other cryptocurrency apps, citing an “unresolved issue,” per Apple Insider. The apps were later restored to the App Store.

Insight:

The takeaway from marketers is that while interest in cryptocurrency remains high, there are a few stumbling blocks that need to be overcome if it is to become a legitimate marketing tool. While cryptocurrency has caught the attention of investors and portions of the tech industry, the Apple news is just the latest example that some are also wary of it. Apple’s ban on cryptocurrency mining follows efforts by social networking companies to halt advertising for digital currencies and initial coin offerings. Twitter earlier this year prohibited the ads in order to combat deceptive marketing practices, following similar moves by Facebook and Google to restrict ads for digital coins. On the other hand, Facebook is reportedly working on its own cryptocurrency while Rakuten recently rolled out a loyalty scheme based on the tech. 

For Apple, the issue is the computing power required for cryptocurrency mining, which takes place in the background on some apps, and how this can drain a device’s battery. While iPhones and iPads have the computing power equivalent to mainframe computers of yesteryear, cryptocurrency mining is even more energy-intensive. 

Some apps on the App Store say they can help users mine coins with power from their personal devices, including “Crypto Coin Miner” and “Cryptocurrency Cloud Mining.” The second app says it can help users make money and earn cryptocurrencies without a major investment in hardware.


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