Apple's being sued by Venmo and Cash App users over iPhone crypto transfer fees

iPhone App Store showcasing apps and games sections
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Apple is on the receiving end of a new lawsuit brought by users of the Venmo and Cash App apps accusing the company of abusing its market power to inhibit competition in the peer-to-peer payment market.

It's claimed that the lack of competition means that crypto transaction prices have increased, with a class action lawsuit brought by four crypto fans in New York, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Georgia.

The four believe that Apple's blocking of crypto wallet apps from the App Store prevents healthy competition, allowing transfer feeds between digital wallets to be increased due to the lack of that competition. 

Crypto conundrum

Reuters reports the class action lawsuit is being brought by law firm Bathaee Dunne, but the outfit has so far refused to comment on the litigation.

"Apple's agreements limit 'feature competition' within peer-to-peer payment apps, including prohibiting existing or new platforms from using "decentralized cryptocurrency technology," the report notes. The lawsuit "seeks an injunction that could force Apple to divest or segregate its Apple Cash business."

Those involved in the suit argue that by allowing decentralized technology, like crypto, Apple would give iPhone users a way to send payments to each other without having to use an intermediary — an intermediary that adds high transaction fees.

It's argued that Apple, Venmo, and Cash App "have repeatedly raised prices for transactions and services with no competitive check," although it isn't clear what input Apple has in the running of either of those two services to warrant that claim.

Two examples of Bitcoin wallet apps that have been prevented from appearing in the App Store are Zeus and Damus, Reuters notes. Block founder Jack Dorsey — the company behind Cash App — is involved in the latter.

As for what comes next, we'll have to wait and see but with neither Apple nor the law firm commenting it's unlikely that we'll hear much any time soon.

More form iMore

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Gulesoup
    I've been diving into the crypto scene for a while, and I've seen how it's changing the game. People want to use crypto for everyday transactions, and these finance apps are the gateway. But when big players like Apple put up roadblocks, it can be a real bummer.
    I'm all about crypto, and I get how frustrating it is when you're itching to explore this new financial frontier and you hit a brick wall. It's like having a cool new skateboard but not being allowed to ride it in the park.
    And here's a little secret – if you're into crypto and want to keep your financial moves on the down-low, you should check out a crypto mixer.