Komal Joshi · Oct 21, 2020 . 6min read
Coinbase comes out to share Apple’s antagonistic policies for DeFi
Coinbase cannot add features that enable users to earn money using cryptocurrency and is barred from listing Dapps.
By Victor Ugochukwu · Sep 13, 2020 . 9min read
Brian Armstrong of Coinbase appears to have come out in the open to tweet his frustrations on Apple’s antagonistic policies to DeFi growth, especially for its customers.
Brian, in a Twitter thread, lays his case bare against Apple, a $2 trillion tech giant and their restrictive Apple store policies. Admitting that many companies and not just Coinbase suffer the same fate under Apple but for fear of retribution as we saw with Apple versus Epic Games debacle would instead not go public.
From the tweet, Brian’s grouse was that Apple says Coinbase cannot add the following functionality in our iOS apps: (1) the ability to earn money using cryptocurrency and (2) the ability to access decentralized finance apps (sometimes called DeFi apps or Dapps).
Brian went further to lay his case arguing Apple restrictions defies logic mainly as Coinbase Earn product already accommodates this. He is arguing that it surprises him why a company like Apple would restrict users the opportunity to earn during a recession. Brian says Coinbase ends in “bizarre” negotiations with the latter sometimes to end modifying products which don’t always present smart user experience for their customers. For instance, users doing a task in-app and then moving to the web to claim rewards just to be able to comply with Apple store guidelines.
What does Apple require from Coinbase or any other DeFi product out there?
From Brian’s tweets, it’s simple. Apple says,
“Your app offers cryptocurrency transactions in non-embedded software within the app, which is not appropriate for the App Store.”
Apple is not one to joke with, especially whenever the business of its In-app Purchase (IAP) with a threat solution. While Apple may be protecting its interests, one wonders if Apple is not in any way threading the line of AntiTrust, it is also a signatory to. Brian shared the same sentiment when he said,
Apple also has a conflict of interest in applying these app store restrictions. While they are ostensibly designed to protect customers, it increasingly looks like they are also protecting Apple from competition.
Obviously, big dominant exchanges within the cryptocurrency space have all joined the DeFi bandwagon. From Binance to OKEx to Huobi, the list is growing. The transaction fees that pass through Uniswap DEX is too sweet to ignore. Coinbase must have been pushing to cash-in on the DeFi movement, but Apple restriction has held sway.
Consequently, Brian asks Apple to stop its limiting policies to innovation in the DeFi space.
Apple, it’s time to stop stifling innovation in cryptocurrency. We would like to work with you productively on this. Some day, cryptocurrency could even be integrated into IAP to give people in emerging markets better access to the financial system globally.
Whether Apple listens is a subject of another debate judging by antecedents. Most startups end up cowering to the $2 trillion-dollar company’s demand.
DeFi on Dapps is permissionless.
Dapps and DeFi protocols do not require the permission of anyone before users can get on them. In fact, Uniswap single-handedly kicked off this year’s Bull Run as crypto project startups list their tokens there easily. No KYC/AML requirements needed; all they need to do is list their token and immediately start to bootstrap liquidity. This kind of freedom has also led to increased scams, with semblance to the ICO bubble era.
One may say Apple is not even stifling innovation because the reason for permissionless protocols is to sidestep exchanges like Coinbase. DeFi applications built on Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain networks wean the gatekeepers off their powers. After all, Apple is a company, and the AppStore is their own product/property, not a public utility. They decide what kind of apps they allow same way Coinbase decides which tokens to list. Both of them are centralized.
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