Apple has published new, revised guidelines for Apps related to cryptocurrencies. While the biggest step the company has taken is the effective banning of any app that mines cryptocurrencies, the guidelines also include apps related to trading and storage of cryptocurrencies and tokens.
With regard to ICOs, the guidelines state that apps that facilitate “Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), cryptocurrency futures trading, and other crypto-securities or quasi-securities trading must come from established banks, securities firms, futures commission merchants (“FCM”), or other approved financial institutions and must comply with all applicable law.”
Only Apps Related to Mining Are Explicitly Banned
Further guidelines have been set out to discourage the use of cryptocurrencies that incentivize tasks such as downloading Apps or files or posting to social media.
Cryptocurrency wallets are permitted, provided they are offered by developers enrolled as an organization and not individually. Apps facilitating the trading of cryptocurrencies need to be offered by approved exchanges.
While most activities related to cryptocurrencies are allowed, provided the guidelines are followed, mining of cryptocurrencies on iOS devices is explicitly banned. This includes Apps that display ads for third parties while mining in the background. It is believed that there are no iOS Apps currently able to mine existing cryptocurrencies, but the move appears to be pre-empting the use of mobile phones to mine new crypto assets in the future.
This may affect blockchains that plan to use connected devices, including mobile phones, as the nodes that make up their networks. Apple’s concerns appear to lie with applications that exert excessive demands on processing power as opposed to the concept of crypto-mining itself. However, it is not immediately clear whether consensus mechanisms that are more energy efficient would be permitted.