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Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Blocking P2P Payments for Crypto Apps

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: AdobeStock / BGStock72

Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit that alleges the tech giant has engaged in a conspiracy to limit peer-to-peer payment options on its devices and block the integration of crypto technology in iOS payment apps.

The complaint, filed on November 17 in a California District Court by Venmo and Cash App customers, claims that Apple entered into anti-competitive agreements with popular payment platforms such as PayPal’s Venmo and Block’s Cash App. 

These agreements allegedly restrict the use of decentralized cryptocurrency technology in payment apps, resulting in inflated prices for users.

“These agreements limit feature competition—and the price competition that would flow from it—marketwide, including by barring the incorporation of decentralized cryptocurrency technology within existing or new iOS Peer-to-Peer Payment apps.”

Apple Uses its Power to Exclude Crypto Payments

The suit accuses Apple of employing technological and contractual restraints, including App Store exclusivity and limitations on web browser technology, to exert complete control over all apps installed and run on iPhones and iPads.

According to the plaintiffs, Apple leverages these restraints to force new iOS P2P payment apps to exclude crypto functionality as a condition for entry into the App Store. 

As a result, consumers have been subjected to inflated fees, and the plaintiffs seek to recover damages for excessive fees and overcharging caused by Apple’s alleged anticompetitive conduct.

The class action lawsuit, spanning 58 pages, provides a comprehensive account of the history and growth of peer-to-peer payment apps and decentralized cryptocurrencies.

It is worth noting that in April, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Apple had violated California’s competition laws by prohibiting apps from directing users to non-Apple payment solutions.

Crypto Apps Struggle to Remain on Apple Store

Apple’s guidelines require app developers to share 30% of transaction revenues. 

This has been a barrier for crypto firms, including those facilitating the purchase of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as they strive to provide services to iOS users.

As reported, Apple has removed the Bitcoin-friendly social media app Damus from the App Store for violating its terms of service.

The app has a tipping feature that allows content creators to receive tips in the form of Bitcoin through the Lightning Network. 

Apple deemed this feature a violation of its guidelines, as it prohibits developers from selling additional in-app content unless the transactions go through Apple, through which the tech giant takes a 30% cut.

Back in October, the popular Ethereum wallet MetaMask was also briefly removed from Apple’s App Store before being restored.