Throughout 2018, Google has amended policy after policy across its suite of web-based products relating to cryptocurrencies. In the their latest move, cryptocurrency wallets have been swept away off the Google Play store without warning.
Google Removes Bitcoin Wallet, CoPay, and BitPay Without Warning
According to a new report from Hard Fork, the Mountain View, California, tech and search giant has mysteriously removed three popular cryptocurrency wallets from its Google Play Store without any notice given to the app developers.
The three cryptocurrency wallets affected include Bitcoin.com‘s Bitcoin Wallet, BitPay, and the BitPay-owned CoPay. Google’s policy is not to comment on individual cases, so the search engine provider and Android OS developer hasn’t revealed the reasoning behind the removal and it’s unlikely they will.
Outspoken Bitcoin.com CEO and Bitcoin Cash evangelist Roger Ver believes there’s a connection to the removal and Google’s recent change to their Google Play Store policy banning apps that mine for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero. Apps that mine for cryptocurrencies are strictly forbidden, though Google still allows apps that can managing crypto mining remotely.
“Google told us that it was because they no longer allow crypto currency mining apps,” explained Ver, who believes the removal was a mistake on Google’s behalf. “I have no idea how they came under the impression that our wallet is a mining app.”
At the time of this writing Bitcoin.com‘s Bitcoin Wallet is back on the Google Play Store, though CoPay and BitPay remain offline. BitPay told Hard Fork they expect the app to back online soon, but didn’t explain what Google’s issue was with the wallet that prompted the abrupt removal.
It’s worth noting that the three wallets share a portion of the same source code, which could explain why all three apps were targeted.
Google’s Continued Hard Stance Against Cryptocurrencies
Earlier in the year, Google followed social media powerhouse Facebook’s lead in banning cryptocurrency related ads from being run through their AdWords advertising platform. The blanket ban covered everything from wallets, trading advice, initial coin offerings, and more. Nothing crypto-related was spared from Google’s new policy update.
The ban was part of a wider Financial Services policy update that included “financial spread betting” and “rolling spot forex” among “cryptocurrencies and related content.” Google left the option for advertisers running forex and other ad types to comply with legal requirements and become certified, allowing them to return to running their ads post certification. Cryptocurrencies, however, were outright banned with no option for advertiser certification.
Google’s ban brigade didn’t end there. The Alphabet subsidiary also moved to ban Google Chrome extensions that mined for cryptocurrency, followed by a similar move on the Google Play Store, banning apps that mined for cryptocurrencies. The latter is what Roger Ver believes the confusion around the three wallets that were removed mysteriously stemmed from.