Bitcoin-friendly social media app Damus has scored a partial win in its two-week battle to remain on tech giant Apple’s App Store.

Damus, a decentralized social media platform running on the Nostr protocol, was warned by Apple on June 13 that it faced expulsion from the App Store if it persisted in facilitating the acceptance of “zaps,” tips using Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, on content posts—circumventing Apple Pay.

In order to comply with Apple's strict in-app purchase guidelines, Damus has been forced to make some concessions. While Damus users can still engage in zap transactions at the profile level, allowing for peer-to-peer transfers, the latest version of the app will no longer support zaps on posts, as Apple considered this feature akin to selling digital content.

“We’re allowed to stay only after forcing me to remove a core feature of the app,” Damus App founder William Casarin told Decrypt. He tweeted that he will continue to build Damus on iOS as a “vanilla nostr client.”


Decrypt has reached out to Apple for comment and will update this story should they respond.

Apple vs Bitcoiners

Apple’s original decision to remove the Damus app from the AppStore sparked criticism from prominent figures within the Bitcoin community, including former Twitter CEO and Jack Dorsey, who invested $5 million in Damus protocol’s development. “Why doesn’t Apple Pay support bitcoin @tim_cook?”, he tweeted earlier this week.


Members of the Bitcoin community argued that Apple's stringent guidelines constitute an obstacle to the widespread adoption of Bitcoin-friendly applications in the App Store. Apple maintains that all apps are subject to the same set of guidelines, without any special treatment.

Casarin told Decrypt that his biggest concern is that other value for value (v4v) Bitcoin apps such as Fountain and Podcasting 2.0 are “at risk for removal.”

“I don’t know how Fountain is allowed at all considering their whole app is content tipping with Bitcoin,” Casarin said. “Now I’m back on but the app is a lot worse than it was before. We still have censorship resistant speech I guess, hopefully Apple doesn’t ban that too.”

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