Decentralized social networking app Damus was today warned by Apple’s App Store that it has fourteen days to bring its tipping feature into compliance or it will face removal from the app store, according to a tweet by Damus on Tuesday. 

Damus’s tipping function—known as "zaps"—lets users send Bitcoin to their favorite content creators via the blockchain’s second-layer Lightning Network, but the feature appears to have fallen foul of Apple’s terms by not using the tech giant’s in-app purchase mechanism. 

Apple has given Damus until June 27 to bring its app into compliance or it will be removed from the store. 


Damus described the move as “pretty sus” given the timing: right before the team appears at Oslo’s Freedom Forum to talk about how Bitcoin and decentralized social media can help bring about financial freedom. 

"They are trying to make the argument that since zaps potentially enable content creators to sell digital content with Lightning, this would be against their guidelines," Damus developer William Casarin told Decrypt. "This threatens any app on the app store that interacts with Lightning in any way.”

He further explained that while Damus was not explicitly enabling the sale of digital content through Bitcoin, today’s clampdown on peer-to-peer payments means that “any app that allows users to post lightning invoices may suffer from the same line of reasoning."

Apple’s 30% slice on NFTs

This isn’t the first time that Apple’s app store has found itself at loggerheads for control over emerging technology. 


At the end of 2022, the iPhone maker began charging its standard 30% commission on in-app NFT sales, a move which industry Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney at the time called “grotesquely overpriced.” 

Apple’s hefty cut once again made headlines this year. This time in connection with OpenAI’s famous ChatGPT chatbot. The machine learner’s progenitors opted to remain compliant with the App Store’s terms, opting for the in-house in-app purchase mechanism rather than setting up a separate subscription site. 

OpenAI may not mind playing ball, but federal law appears to partially be in Apple critics’ favor. 

Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple over its 30% tax back in 2020. Recently, the U.S. federal appeals court ruled that while Apple breached California’s Unfair Competition Law by forbidding alternative payment methods, it did not break U.S. antitrust laws. 

Both parties last week asked the court to reconsider its ruling. 

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