[Story updated with Apple comment at 11:15 a.m PST.]
First they came for our Bitcoin podcasts, and I did not speak out—because I was not a maximalist.
Anthony Pompliano was perturbed—his followers, perplexed. Over the weekend, Apple purged—initially without warning or explanation—the Morgan Creek Digital founder’s podcast, Off the Chain, from its iTunes directory.
Then, late Tuesday, under the cover of night and a supposed “election,” Apple quietly placed it right back.
Pomp says Apple acted unilaterally and “mysteriously,” as centralized content providers are apt to do. And in either instance, he says the company couldn’t be bothered to explain its actions to him.
So did Apple dump Pomp’s ‘pod for pumping the people’s preferred crypto? Nah, it turns out the whole thing was nothing more than a glitch. Apple confirmed to Decrypt this morning that the show was mistakenly removed, then reinstated.
So much for conspiracy theories. But regardless, “it wasn’t fun to deal with,” says Pomp, who points out that his podcast with Bitcoin’s champion—the maximalist with the mostest—Murad Mahmudov was tearing up the iTunes charts last week, landing the fourth spot on Apple’s “investing” category—before it was unexpectedly flushed down the memory hole.
Much as we’d like to picture Apple executives sitting in a dimly lit, cigar-smoke-filled room alongside the heads of world’s central banks, cackling as they push the big, red “DELETE” button on Off the Chain, it was hard to imagine Tim Cook’s crew taking issue with the contents of Mahmudov’s and Pompliano’s bitcoin banter—as epic as it was.
Still there’s a bigger point, which Pompliano noted in his email to subscribers: “It is more obvious than ever that centralized organizations and products present considerable counterparty risk.” True enough, though the earned media he’ll get from Apple’s honest mistake might provide a decent return on that risk.
Nevertheless, if we can’t trust centralized providers like Apple, then what’s the alternative? Pompliano tells us “Pure decentralization without filters or controls is probably not the right answer.” Merely “converting Web2.0 products into decentralized replicas is not interesting” to him, and would like to see developers instead “focus on building new types of products that were previously not possible.”
We can only assume that those products would exist outside the reach of any other third party to accidentally—or even intentionally—take them down.