Blockchain’s bitcoin app is back on Apple ‘s App Store.
The app, which lets users manage their Blockchain account from a mobile phone, was reinstated Monday by Apple after being booted from the store in February.
The removal of the app infuriated bitcoin fans, some of whom smashed their iPhones – one went so far as to literally shoot it at a range.
At the time, Apple didn’t offer any official reason for the move, although it was widely assumed the company was being cautious with regards to banking laws. The app allows users to send and receive bitcoins, and given the uncertain legal status of bitcoin, it appeared Apple didn’t want to find itself on the wrong end of anti-money laundering laws.
Apple was not immediately available for comment this morning, but it had issued guidelines in June about bitcoin apps; those guidelines showed Apple was willing to allow cryptocurrency-related apps, but it would demand any products would have to be in compliance with all state and federal laws where the app worked.
At that time, Blockchain said it would resubmit its app. “Apple has been very responsive during our submission and approval process and we’re thankful for the partnership,” CEO Nicolas Cary said via email. “This really signals Apple’s commitment to supporting developers on Bitcoin related projects – it’s very encouraging.”
Earlier this month, Blockchain unveiled a new, remodeled app for Android phones. The new Apple app has a revamped interface, and will eventually incorporate features from the Android version, like one that allows users to search for merchants that accept bitcoin. The iOS app has been “completely rewritten from the ground up with an emphasis on security and usability,” the company said in a press release.
Blockchain has another app on iOS, called ZeroBlock, but that app provides only price quotes, some charting features, and a news feed. It doesn’t allow users to access their accounts.
For Blockchain, it’s a big deal. The company had seen more than 100,000 downloads when the app was removed, and “we expect to reach hundreds of thousands of new users quickly because bitcoin has become more popular than ever and Apple didn’t have any trusted consumer-friendly options until now,” said Mr. Cary said.
Even without its app on Apple’s system, Mr. Cary said Blockchain – which takes its name from bitcoin’s public ledger, called the block chain – has doubled the number of wallet users in 2014, from 950,000 to 1.9 million. In April, the company began leasing the domain name bitcoin.com for its website.