Damus–a decentralized social media app based on the underlying Nostr protocol–will officially be removed from Apple’s App Store after failure to come into compliance with its Bitcoin tipping service. 

“Looks like we are getting removed from the appstore even after updating our app to make it clear that no digital content is getting unlocked when users are tipped,” said Damus over Twitter on Monday. The company said it would file an appeal due to the motion against it being “misapplied.”

Damus lets users tip their favourite content creators through “zaps”–BTC transfers over Bitcoin’s layer 2 Lightning Network. The app is built atop the Nostr protocol and its functionality is reminiscent of Twitter’s tipping service, integrated in 2021, which included lightning as a tipping method while the company was still led by Bitcoin bull Jack Dorsey. 


Damus’s message from Apple claimed that optional tips and donations were permitted, but not if related to receiving digital content. “They must use in-app purchase in accordance with guideline 3.1.1,” it stated. 

The denial was met with skepticism by Damus, Bitcoiners, and tech leaders across the board–including Jack Dorsey himself. “Tips aren’t unlocking content,” he said on Monday. Later, he added: "Removed from the App Store for enabling tipping to everyone in the world without the need for a bank, payment card, or government permission."

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney responded to the company’s announcement saying “Apple must be stopped.”

Dorsey has previously praised Nostr as being one of the only two “truly censorship resistant technologies at scale” – the other being Bitcoin. 


When receiving two weeks notice to modify their tipping service earlier this month, Damus called Apple’s crackdown “pretty sus” given its timing. This was shortly before the company delivered a talk at the Oslo Freedom Forum about the importance of decentralized social networks based on lightning.

Damus critics have claimed that Apple simply wants the company to “pay its 30%” for digital content sold on its platform. By contrast, Damus claims there is no “30%” or “cut” involved, since the payment tech it provides is completely peer-to-peer. 

“If people can’t transact freely p2p on their platform, this has huge implications for the entire ecosystem of apps with lightning integration,” said Damus last week.

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