Apple’s rules for cryptocurrencies entering their App Store are strict, to say the least.
A few months ago, Apple switched their model from providing a list of “Approved Cryptocurrencies” to enforcing a strict rule set on how cryptocurrencies could operate within Apple’s ecosystem:
3.1.5 (b) 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.
Cryptocurrencies like Kik’s Kin token, which aims to fuel a rewards economy, were disheartened by Apple’s rule “(v)” for cryptocurrencies. For Kin, it seemed their “Kinit” rewards app suddenly wouldn’t be eligible for iOS app store distribution.
In the months following the change, Kik/Kin Founder and CEO Ted Livingston had frequently mentioned that Kin was working closely with teams at Apple, with the goal of becoming the first consumer app that would be granted exemptions to this rule. Livingston hoped that the ongoing dialogue, which he described as “conversations that really nobody else in the world is having,” would allow him to release a compliant, consumer-facing crypto app within Apple’s guidelines.
Today, the Kin team made a surprise announcement that Kinit is now available on iOS for consumers in the United States, joining the public Android release, and marking a major milestone for the team. Consumers on both major mobile platforms now have a user-friendly entry point to earning cryptocurrency by completing daily tasks like opinion polls and quizzes, and then spending their tokens on a variety of e-gift cards. Brands such as Red Bull and Swarovski have been using the app’s integration of Swelly for A/B testing and advertising.
Not only does this make Kin the first cryptocurrency app to be granted an exemption from Apple’s stricter guidelines, it shows Apple’s commitment to supporting quality products in the cryptocurrency space, and demonstrates the prowess of Kin’s business development and partnerships team.