Decentralized social media app Damus could face the axe from the Apple App Store over its Bitcoin (BTC) tipping feature.

On June 13, the creators behind Damus shared a warning letter from Apple, which stated the app would be removed from the platform because of the “Zaps” feature allowing people to tip users and content creators in Bitcoin. The feature was made possible by integrating the Lighting Network widget to make Bitcoin payments and tips on the platform.

In its warning, Apple said the Zaps feature violates its policy prohibiting any form of tipping feature other than in-app purchases. The tech giant stated that even though the tipping feature may be optional, “if they [users] are connected to or associated with receiving digital content, they must use in-app purchase in accordance with guideline 3.1.1.“

The Damus team called it a watershed moment with huge implications for platforms with peer-to-peer (P2P) support. The team also clarified that Damus doesn’t sell digital goods or provide features for selling digital goods. It simply has tip buttons for facilitating P2P transactions like Venmo or Cash App.

Bitcoin and crypto tipping has become quite popular on social media platforms, with Twitter and Reddit enabling the feature. The crypto tipping feature makes way for P2P transactions that don’t require an intermediary to process. Apple itself approved the “Game of Birds” app with Bitcoin tipping in 2015.

One Nostr creator, who goes by the Twitter name, Walker, highlighted that Apple’s issue with Zaps was wrongly placed because Damus is not selling any digital content, and the creator requested the tech giant to rectify its mistake.

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Many other crypto proponents also questioned how tips on Twitter are acceptable, but the same feature on Damus violates Apple’s policies. Others accused Apple of protecting the interests of Silicon Valley.

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