Apple has lifted the restriction on bitcoin-trading apps in its App Store. The first such virtual currency app to become available after the change of policy, Coin Pocket, appeared on the store yesterday. The app arrived shortly after Apple added a new rule to its store guidelines that allows virtual-currency apps on one reasonable condition: that they comply with state and federal laws in all areas that they operate. Previously, Apple had removed apps that allowed users to trade in the virtual currency, restricting access to the wallet apps that act as the bank accounts of the bitcoin world.
Until now, Apple's approach to virtual currencies has been quite conservative, taking what appeared to be a better-safe-than-sorry approach to allowing transactions of these niche (and often confusing) currencies. The US government has given some guidance on the matter though, and Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are generally unregulated for individual users, suggesting that allowing the apps on iPhones and iPads likely won't create any major legal concerns for Apple. By adding the requirement of legality for virtual currency trading apps, Apple has basically given itself all of the room that it needs to let apps such as Coin Pocket enter the store while keeping any potential bad seeds out.
Additional reporting by Rich McCormick.