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Author Topic: The Demise of BitPak  (Read 4093 times)
samablog
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June 01, 2012, 01:50:54 PM
 #1

The Demise of BitPak

About three weeks ago, I received notification that BitPak, the first Bitcoin wallet for iOS, had been removed from the Apple App store.  I had not been given any reason why, just a simple electronic notification that it had been done.  I was traveling at the time, and did not have the time to contact Apple to inquire about this.

About a week later, someone from Apple called me on the phone to let me know that BitPak had been removed from the App Store.  The guy on the phone sounded like a nervous teenager.  I asked him why this had happened, and he said "Because that Bitcoin thing is not legal in all jurisdictions for which BitPak is for sale".  I inquired as to which jurisdictions Bitcoin was deemed to be illlegal in, and he told me "that is up to you to figure out".  I asked him which laws Bitcoin violated, and again, he replied that "that is up to you to determine".  I told the kid on the phone that he has in fact told me nothing and was most unhelpful. 

Unfortunately, my other business ventures are taking up all of my time and resources, and this I no longer have the time to deal with this.  I would have continued BitPak development had the app stayed in the store, but with it gone, I see little point.  I had been working on a revision which would have put the block chain in the cloud.  That development has now ceased. 

So I am willing to pass this on to whomever may be interested in picking BitPak up and doing something with it.  I have put a significant amount of money intogetting BitPak developed, and I have not come close to recoupign that investment.  If someone has a commercial idea for BitPak, I'll happily sell it for a royalty.  If not, I'll post the code somewhere with an opensource license.

I still believe that the most logical place for a Bitcoin wallet to reside is on the mobile phone.  it is extremely unfortunate that Apple has chosen to take this stand.  I know that there are people working on dedicated dongles to overcome this issue.  And maybe that is the way this will play out.

Feel free to contact me if you have any idea for BitPak.  And thank you for the support I received while it was live in the store.

All the best,

-Rob Sama

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kangasbros
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June 01, 2012, 02:04:30 PM
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Not a surprise... Good luck with your future ventures.

unclescrooge
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June 01, 2012, 02:16:20 PM
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About a week later, someone from Apple called me on the phone to let me know that BitPak had been removed from the App Store.  The guy on the phone sounded like a nervous teenager.  I asked him why this had happened, and he said "Because that Bitcoin thing is not legal in all jurisdictions for which BitPak is for sale".  I inquired as to which jurisdictions Bitcoin was deemed to be illlegal in, and he told me "that is up to you to figure out".  I asked him which laws Bitcoin violated, and again, he replied that "that is up to you to determine". 

You should have told him you have determined it violated no laws, and that it's up to them to prove it violates a law, since they are the one removing the app.

But anyway, it's Apple, what would you expect?

TangibleCryptography
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June 01, 2012, 02:19:05 PM
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Sorry to here that.

Sadly given Apple's attitude towards complete and absolute platform control that isn't totally surprising.
A cautionary tale for other developers.  At a minimum one should consider cross platform wallets (android & ios).

I am surprised you didn't at least appeal saying "We have determined Bitcoin violates no laws, please reinstate the product or provide specific reasons why it can't be".
Etlase2
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June 01, 2012, 02:24:56 PM
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Was it hosting the block chain in the app? Maybe AT&T and Verizon said get rid of it because of data or something.

coretechs
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June 01, 2012, 02:33:11 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

Quote
Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our unification of thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!
davout
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June 01, 2012, 02:33:57 PM
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Was it hosting the block chain in the app? Maybe AT&T and Verizon said get rid of it because of data or something.
No, we got the same answer from Apple. We're using the appeal process, for the second time, we got stonewalled the first time.
We're not excluding a lawsuit since, as paying customers (developer licenses are not free) we believe we are entitled to either :
 - get told where the legal issue resides,
 - OR get an official developer guidelines update explicitly stating that Bitcoin is not cool on the AppStore (which would mean lots of press!)


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June 01, 2012, 02:46:00 PM
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Even if there is a jurisdiction where a legal issue arises, isn't the logical answer just to not sell in that jurisdiction? If I'm the president of Zimbabwe and make video game depictions of birds illegal, does the world lose angry birds? Maybe it's illegal in the MC/Visa jursidiction?  Roll Eyes

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June 01, 2012, 02:53:21 PM
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Was it hosting the block chain in the app? Maybe AT&T and Verizon said get rid of it because of data or something.
No, we got the same answer from Apple. We're using the appeal process, for the second time, we got stonewalled the first time.
We're not excluding a lawsuit since, as paying customers (developer licenses are not free) we believe we are entitled to either :
 - get told where the legal issue resides,
 - OR get an official developer guidelines update explicitly stating that Bitcoin is not cool on the AppStore (which would mean lots of press!)
+1 …I really like this approach.  Apple may have the right to reject any app for any reason from its store, but if there really is a jurisdiction where Bitcoin is deemed illegal, I think developers have a right to know it.  Alternatively, if the truth is that Apple has just decided to ban Bitcoin (specifically), or virtual currencies (generally), they need to fess up and be honest about that (and yes, I would think a lot of people would be interested to know that Apple is trying to stifle competition in the area of payment solutions).

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June 01, 2012, 02:54:36 PM
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Even if there is a jurisdiction where a legal issue arises, isn't the logical answer just to not sell in that jurisdiction? If I'm the president of Zimbabwe and make video game depictions of birds illegal, does the world lose angry birds? Maybe it's illegal in the MC/Visa jursidiction?  Roll Eyes
Another good point…and it makes me wonder if there aren't already other apps that are in fact illegal in some jurisdictions and for which Apple has allowed, but disabled just in those jurisdictions.

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June 01, 2012, 03:04:07 PM
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Even if there is a jurisdiction where a legal issue arises, isn't the logical answer just to not sell in that jurisdiction? If I'm the president of Zimbabwe and make video game depictions of birds illegal, does the world lose angry birds? Maybe it's illegal in the MC/Visa jursidiction?  Roll Eyes
Another good point…and it makes me wonder if there aren't already other apps that are in fact illegal in some jurisdictions and for which Apple has allowed, but disabled just in those jurisdictions.
Steve, your stuff runs on iOS doesn't it? Has it been subject to any limitations?

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davout
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June 01, 2012, 03:08:58 PM
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Another good point…and it makes me wonder if there aren't already other apps that are in fact illegal in some jurisdictions and for which Apple has allowed, but disabled just in those jurisdictions.
The developer chooses in which jurisdictions apps are to be made available.

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June 01, 2012, 03:21:48 PM
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Another good point…and it makes me wonder if there aren't already other apps that are in fact illegal in some jurisdictions and for which Apple has allowed, but disabled just in those jurisdictions.
The developer chooses in which jurisdictions apps are to be made available.

In that case start with 1 country at a time.  Make it available in USA only.  If they deny it here, then demand proof of what laws it violates.


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Portnoy
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June 01, 2012, 03:28:04 PM
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This is not surprising.

EFF tweet from a couple days ago:
Apple's devices are like beautiful crystal prisons https://eff.org/r.2abV

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June 01, 2012, 03:33:00 PM
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Another good point…and it makes me wonder if there aren't already other apps that are in fact illegal in some jurisdictions and for which Apple has allowed, but disabled just in those jurisdictions.
The developer chooses in which jurisdictions apps are to be made available.

In that case start with 1 country at a time.  Make it available in USA only.  If they deny it here, then demand proof of what laws it violates.
In their own terms "it's up to you to figure out".
What would be better is reference some lawyer advice and assert that it is legal.

Cryptoman
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June 01, 2012, 04:24:57 PM
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It's hilarious that Apple portrayed itself in advertisements for years as the young rebel next to the staid IBM PC (for example, see this photo: http://wpcdn2.padgadget.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/ipvpc.jpg).  Now, Apple is the establishment figure and Google/Android/Linux (and PC hardware upon which you can install any OS) is the young rebel. 


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June 01, 2012, 04:29:36 PM
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Even if there is a jurisdiction where a legal issue arises, isn't the logical answer just to not sell in that jurisdiction? If I'm the president of Zimbabwe and make video game depictions of birds illegal, does the world lose angry birds? Maybe it's illegal in the MC/Visa jursidiction?  Roll Eyes
Another good point…and it makes me wonder if there aren't already other apps that are in fact illegal in some jurisdictions and for which Apple has allowed, but disabled just in those jurisdictions.
Steve, your stuff runs on iOS doesn't it? Has it been subject to any limitations?
We don't have any native apps, just web apps optimized for smartphone screens.

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June 01, 2012, 05:02:19 PM
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Perhaps we should try Argentinian pesos. Those are legal and also mandatory in Argentina so they will have no problem in the Apple App Store.

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June 01, 2012, 05:16:21 PM
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June 01, 2012, 05:22:02 PM
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"Market share? What's that? It runs Lunix though!!" Roll Eyes

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