Apple Threatens Decentralized Social Network Damus Over Bitcoin Payments

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Apple Inc., the global tech powerhouse, has confronted Damus, a decentralized social networking platform, with a daunting request. It has to remove a particular Bitcoin transaction feature or face expulsion from the Apple App Store.

The Backdrop: Apple vs. Damus – Clash of Philosophies

Damus operates on the decentralized social media protocol, Nostr, and emerged as an alternative to Twitter, with Jack Dorsey’s backing. Launched in February of this year, Damus grappled with significant hurdles in gaining approval for inclusion in Apple’s App Store, chiefly due to its decentralized nature. Central to this debate is the notion that decentralization inherently lacks content moderation, which goes against Apple’s modus operandi.

In a recent revelation, Damus disclosed via Twitter that Apple issued a fortnight’s deadline to eliminate a feature known as “Zaps.” This feature facilitates the distribution of Bitcoin rewards as tips, courtesy of integrating the Lightning Network widget. Apple maintains that this feature contravenes its in-app purchase regulation.

The Crux: Apple’s Contention with the Zaps Feature

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According to an attached screenshot of Apple’s warning, the bone of contention is the feature permitting users to send “tips” linked with receiving digital content from creators via a method other than in-app purchase.

Apple’s standpoint is clear. The tech giant stated, “While tips or donations may be optional, if they are connected to or associated with receiving digital content, they must use in-app purchase, following our guidelines.”

This situation could potentially create a ripple effect. “If people can’t transact freely p2p on their platform, this could drastically impact the entire ecosystem of apps integrating lightning and v4v,” the warning reads.

This confrontation is not the first time Damus has locked horns with Apple. Previously, the social networking app was banished from Apple’s China App Store.

Damus’ Defense: A Plea for Understanding

In response to Apple’s stringent stance, a creator at Nostr clarified that Damus users do not “receive content from digital content creators.” The creator stated that content is disseminated across the network through numerous clients, accessible free of charge to all users.

The creator further emphasized that users are not “paying for the content,” and “nothing is being purchased.”

The Community Perspective: An Alleged Bias?

The brewing controversy has piqued the interest of many community members who pointed out the tipping feature on Twitter itself. These critics argue that Apple seems biased, favoring specific platforms while imposing restrictions on others.

The events unfolding between Apple and Damus are critical for the future of decentralized platforms, digital currency transactions, and the broader App Store ecosystem. The outcome will have far-reaching implications for creators, consumers, and the global tech industry alike.

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