US lawmakers question Apple’s policies on stifling blockchain innovation


  • US lawmakers Bilirakis and Schakowsky have written to Apple to clarify App Store’s crypto-related app policy.
  • The legislators wrote to CEO Tim Cook to voice their displeasure over the limitations placed on emerging technologies like blockchains and NFTs.
  • The crypto industry is in support of the legislators calling out Big Tech.

Apple faces a bipartisan investigation into the App Store’s regulations and procedures addressing applications connected to NFTs and the larger crypto industry. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican, and Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, have written a letter to CEO Tim Cook requesting details on the restricted crypto policy of the App Store.

Apple’s policies may be undermining US technological leadership

The two representatives who are also the chairman and ranking member of the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee, questioned the App Store’s rules in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, alleging that the tech giant may be using them to restrict emerging technologies like blockchains. 

The legislators urged Cook to provide information about the company’s iOS App Store regulations because they feared these practices might undermine U.S. technological leadership. They pointed out that the company’s support for distributed ledger technologies like blockchains, NFTs, and others would benefit the nation’s IT sector.

There were several enquiries concerning Apple’s ambitions to create blockchain-based apps in the letter to Tim Cook. The senators expressed worries about the tech company’s intention to leverage App Store rules to boost its profits at the expense of applications connected to cryptocurrencies. These incidents are related to wider worries that Apple’s app store guidelines may impede American leadership in cutting-edge technologies, including blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies.

The two added that their subcommittee is dedicated to encouraging total openness and ensuring that Big Tech is held responsible for its monopolistic actions. So that American inventiveness can keep thriving, they are looking to equalize the playing field inside the sector.

Bilirakis and Schakowsky then asked the company 21 specific questions that must be addressed by August 14, 2023, in their quest for clarification. The queries covered a wide range of topics, including the status of “sideloading” and Apple’s app admission policies related to data privacy and security standards, as well as more focused questions like whether Apple plans to build apps using blockchain-related technologies or whether it has investigated Solana Blockchain’s “secure element” feature.

Meanwhile, in an earlier letter to the company, the legislators had expressed their concerns about the App Store’s restrictions on TikTok and other Chinese-originated apps.

Crypto industry in support of legislators calling out Big Tech

Several players in the crypto industry have come out in support of the legislators questioning Big Tech for their monopolistic actions. The CEO of the Crypto Council, Sheila Warren, praised the Senate inquiry as another proof that the cryptocurrency industry is not a partisan issue. Like many crypto fans, she seemed to be happy that both political parties are now seriously considering the U.S.’s role in the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.

Paul Grewal, the chief legal officer of Coinbase, also praised the Bilirakis and Schakowsky initiative on Twitter. He continued by questioning if Americans are well-served by the arbitrary application of the App Store regulations of a single large company.

Earlier, in anticipation of digital market laws being implemented in the U.K. and Europe, small developers and well-established multinational corporations demanded quick legislative action to create competition in app stores and end Apple and Google’s monopolies. Members of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) described their allegations of unfair treatment by Apple and Google saying that although Apple and Google’s strategies are seen to have some small variances, their anti-competitive impacts are generally the same.

Meanwhile, Apple’s cryptocurrency participation began with the App Store’s acceptance of bitcoin wallets. However, these came integrated with Apple’s strong security mechanisms to give users a safe environment for trading. Apple Pay’s integration with BitPay, a Bitcoin payment service, was another noteworthy milestone. That enabled customers to link their BitPay cards to Apple Wallet and use Apple Pay to buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Yvonne Kiambi

Yvonne is a blockchain and crypto enthusiast. She is passionate about writing and looks to effortlessly guide readers through the exciting world of crypto. You'll find her immersed in a good book when she's not writing.

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