Apple ‘stamp of approval’ for Bitcoin points away from Apple currency

appleapproval16 June 2014 / CNet – Bitcoin has been given a big boost of Apple appeal as virtual currency apps return to the App Store. Industry observers describe the move as a “stamp of approval” for Bitcoin that plays down speculation Apple could be planning to mint its own Bitcoin-style payment method.

This weekend, Coin Pocket was the first virtual currency-focussed app to return to the US App Store. Features of the app include sending and receiving Bitcoins or transfer funds from other Bitcoin wallets.

Bitcoin is the best known virtual digital currency, or “cryptocurrency”, a form of money that isn’t tied to any nation, bank or central authority. You can buy or sell bitcoins and store them in a digital wallet, then use them to pay for stuff or exchange directly with other people online.

Virtual currency has proved controversial for its use as an off-the-grid method of payment for drugs and other illegal activities in so-called Deep Web outlets like the Silk Road marketplace. But it’s also becoming increasingly accepted in the mainstream, with shops and bars accepting payment in Bitcoin, ATMs appearing around the world, and even local authorities creating their own virtual currencies. Just last week, travel booking site Expedia gave a thumbs-up to Bitcoin.

Apple’s attitude to Bitcoin has so far been cautious. Late last year, virtual currency apps including Blockchain, Coinbase and Gliph were removed or rejected from the App Store. Rather than taking a stance against online currencies, Apple was covering itself against possible legal issues. Some governments have issued guidance on virtual currencies, but the legality of such currency remains a grey area in some respects. In Japan, for example, the government earlier this year banned banks from dealing in Bitcoin….. Read more

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