Jack Dorsey-backed Damus removed from App Store over Bitcoin tipping dispute


Damus, a decentralized social networking app backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey featuring bitcoin transaction features, will be removed from the App Store over non-compliance of Apple’s payment guidelines after the tech giant followed through on threats to take down the app over a dispute around Damus’ tipping feature.
MIAMI, FLORIDA – JUNE 04: Jack Dorsey creator, co-founder, and Chairman of Twitter and co-founder & CEO of Square speaks on stage at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference held at the Mana Convention Center in Wynwood on June 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida. The crypto conference is expected to draw 50,000 people and runs from Friday, June 4 through June 6th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Key Takeaways
  • Damus’ tipping feature allows users to trade bitcoin without involvement from other apps—a function that drew pushback from Apple, which takes a 30% fee for in-app purchases and said tips “connected to” digital content have to use in-app purchase in accordance with its guidelines.
  • Damus will appeal the decision, calling the guideline it’s based on “abused and misapplied,” arguing that no digital content is unlocked when users are tipped.
  • The tipping feature could once be used through posts and users’ profiles, but after Apple threatened to take down Damus earlier this month, the app limited the feature to profiles—a change it believed would make it compliant with Apple’s guidelines.
  • Dorsey backs the app and has defended it against Apple multiple times—arguing that Apple has a misunderstanding of the tip feature.
Key Background

Damus was created using a platform called Nostr, which has received more than $5 million in backing from Dorsey. After it made bitcoin payments accessible, Damus’ user base grew from 10,000 to an estimated 160,000. The app’s friction with Apple is nothing new, as it had been rejected from the App Store before being approved in February.

By June, Apple had threatened to pull Damus from the App Store, citing a feature in the app that allowed users to send a tip “in connection with digital content in the app, which violates App Store Review Guidelines.” Damus considered its then-potential removal from the store as something that would hinder decentralized social networks and similar peer-to-peer transactions conducted through them.

Big Number

18 Million. That’s the number of users on Nostr, the platform leveraged by Damus.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.