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Apple Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Apps Through Update of Guidelines

Jun 13, 2018
by Justin Hughes

CUPERTINO, CA — After an update to its App Store review guidelines, Apple has overtly paused the design and development of iOS applications which could be utilized for direct cryptocurrency mining. So far, off-device cloud-based mining is not impeded by the changes.

While there is no official dating of when the developer’s guidelines update occurred, Apple explicitly let it known that Apple is focused on preventing cryptocurrency mining for the time being. In the updated guidelines, Apple tells any developer who wishes to list his or her application on the App Store to refrain from creating software which operates unrelated background processes. Specifically:

data center summit2.4.2 Design your app to use power efficiently. Apps should not rapidly drain the battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources. Apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining.

Another portion of Apple’s App Store review guidelines permits apps to mine for cryptocurrencies only if the process is done off the device. Referencing cloud-based mining:

(ii) Mining: Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device (e.g. cloud-based mining).

Cloud-based mining permits the user to use a shared processing power which is typically operated from data centers. For this shared processing power, the user would primarily need a device for communications. Cryptocurrency mining is a process which needs a ton of computational power. It can create excessive heat and lodge a serious strain on the resources of a device, which are all concerns Apple wishes to minimize. A user mining a Bitcoin on his/her iPhone would be extremely extraordinary since it need a large amount of computational energy and after the new policy update, Apple has restricted mining so a user wouldn’t be able to mine even more less energy-intensive cryptocurrencies directly.

In addition, the update works to prevent mounting concerns known as phone cryptojacking, which is a process where cybercriminals operate scripts or apps to ‘steal’ a device’s computation power to mine cryptocurrencies.

Finally, it would be important to bear in mind that Apple’s update directly targets apps meant for cryptocurrency mining and others which drain a device’s battery quickly. This is not a shift to halt cryptocurrency apps in general. In truth, the guidelines permit the development and listing of apps which facilitate virtual currency storage, transactions, transmissions, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) — within the new guidelines and applicable laws set forth.

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