To me, this story has two angles. On the one hand, it shows how much Big Tech hates innovations. They claim to be open, transparent and to make the world a better place, yet they censor and block anything that could be dangerous to them.

I spend a lot of time in the tech space, next to all the hours in the Bitcoin community, and it’s funny how these two camps couldn’t be any different. I’m stuck between two worlds.

On the other hand, it involves Apple, a company I have a personal connection with. Our first family computer was a Mac. My first phone was an iPhone, heck I’m even writing this article on my MacBook Pro.

I have used some form of Apple product ever since I could think. Not because they’re the best looking, granted they are nice, or because they’re the cheapest. Definitely not. I use Apple products because I share memories from my childhood and always thought that the company that claims to be for the ‘crazy ones’ would embrace new ideas.

The last few days have shown that App Stores and centralized entities do not like Bitcoin, the Lightning Network, or the opportunity for users to reclaim ownership over their content. This couldn’t be more obvious than with the enforced removal of Damus, a popular nostr client and the rejection of the Zeus wallet with their updated version.

Both applications are Lightning-enabled and offer users the ability to reward great content or pay friends and family worldwide in seconds.

In both cases, Apple rejected them because they either thought creators could bypass the App Store purchasing rules or because they thought the services would be used to offer cryptocurrencies with scammy intentions.

Funnily enough, many casinos, gambling, and other cryptocurrency apps are allowed. So what’s going on with the hypocrisy Apple?!

Centralized Authorities Don’t Like Ownership

These events prove a few things. Firstly the monopoly both Apple and Google have over their users. With Android, you at least have the chance to install apps via APKs, but Apple is a different beast. Either you get approved, or the only other option is to do that weird web app trick with Safari, where you save a bookmark to it on your home screen.

Secondly, these events prove that none of these App Stores and centralized entities want users to own assets, whether those are Satoshis on the Lightning Network or their content. The App Stores want users to give up these rights and play the ‘ecosystem’ game. Why? Because they’re able to profit 30% on any good or service sold through their stores.

If Apple or any of the other Big Tech companies would open up their App Stores, they would actually embrace the open standards and collaboration the earlier versions of the web are based on. But they would also lose their monopoly, which has worked well for the past 15 years.

Therefore it’s easier for them to censor and control every aspect of the system instead of embracing new technologies and ideas. Funnily enough, for a company that claims to think differently, they surely do the same BS as their competitors.

Apple’s AOL Moment With Lightning

At this point, I can only speculate whether Apple actually understands how the Lightning Network works or if they block access to it on purpose.

However, if I look at its past actions, Apple has proven over and over again that they don’t like Bitcoin. It’s been almost ten years since they first blacklisted Bitcoin wallets. Back then the claim of ‘safety’ came up and that Bitcoin was a too young of a technology for users to use. Eventually, the wallets were allowed back into the App Store.

This time, Apple missed the boat by not understanding how the technology involved with Damus actually works. Instead of getting set up with an account and playing around with Zaps, they blacklisted immediately. This is a bad look, especially because Apple is one of the biggest tech companies that should theoretically understand how reward structures work.

Because this is what Zaps are at the end of the day. They’re not a secret payment channel with which creators can sell stuff. They’re a reward tool to send value over the fastest network known by mankind.

Users on Damus can engage with their favorite creators by sending them Sats to say thank you for the hard work they’re doing. Instead of relying on advertisers, creators can engage directly with their followers. On top of that, users are also able to send messages with Zaps and use it as a communication tool.

The sad thing about this is that all this information is publicly available. It would have taken the Apple employees less than 5 minutes, or just ask the team behind Damus what these Zaps actually are. Between the time the story broke and me writing this article, Apple and Damus spoke. The issue is the Zapping functionality with each post. They need to deactivate it and only allow Zaps on profiles.

This further proves that Apple doesn’t understand the concept behind Value4Value and is losing out big time here.

Bitcoin: F**k You Technology

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if Apple did this on purpose or if they genuinely didn’t know. They have again shown how far they will go to protect their monopoly.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because Damus is a client to use the nostr protocol. Users can migrate to other clients and still use the protocol. They’ll still be able to use Zaps and see the advantages of Value4Value.

Bitcoin is not only fuck you money, but fuck you technology as well. Other Bitcoin companies have already told Apple to get out of here or will show support by enabling Zaps within their apps.

Many Bitcoiners, myself included, are put off by this decision and will look for solutions outside the Apple ecosystem, which is the best way to hurt them. Sure, voice your concerns on social media, and support Damus or Zeus where you can but don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Bitcoin has always been about peer-to-peer interactions. The more attacks we face, the better. If they block clients on App Stores, we build web-based apps. Whatever they try and block, Bitcoin and its technology are already there to find a new avenue to get the job done.

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