Apple just announced a ban for applications that allow the mining of cryptocurrencies that run on its devices. The ban will be applicable to all Apple platforms.
This initiative by Apple did not come suddenly. Last March, Apple already made its first move against cryptocurrency mining apps by removing Calendar 2 from the Mac App store. This happened after the app began cryptocurrency mining. At this point, Calendar 2 suspected it was because of the App Store’s guideline: “Apps should not rapidly drain battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources.” – something that mining excels at doing.
Now, Apple has set a more comprehensive cryptocurrencies section governing cryptocurrency-related activity. Specific rules are now laid out for how apps can engage in any kind of mining or transaction with cryptocurrencies:
(i) Wallets: Apps may facilitate virtual currency storage, provided they are offered by developers enrolled as an organization.
(ii) Mining: Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device (e.g. cloud-based mining).
(iii) Exchanges: Apps may facilitate transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, provided they are offered by the exchange itself.
(iv) Initial Coin Offerings: Apps facilitating 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.
(v) Cryptocurrency apps may not offer currency for completing tasks, such as downloading other apps, encouraging other users to download, posting to social networks, etc.
As it is now, using the typical Apple mobile device – iPhone or iPad – for cryptocurrency mining is very impractical. The algorithms to be run for solving complex equations would take a lot of processing power – 1.5 kilowatts. To put into context, this is enough to power the modern flatscreen TV, and would be too much to ask of any mobile device. If pursued, doing so would only earn the user less than one bitcoin over the course of a year.
Apple has only been one among many large companies boycotting cryptocurrency activity. Earlier this year, other tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all banned crypto-related advertising on their platforms.