Apple Faces Class Action Over Crypto Tech Limitations in P2P Payments
A recent class-action lawsuit filed in a California District Court accuses Apple of engaging in anti-competitive behaviour within the iOS peer-to-peer payments sector.
Disgruntled consumers claim that Apple conspired to curtail peer-to-peer payment options and obstruct the integration of crypto technology into iOS payment apps.
The complaint, filed on Nov. 17, asserts that Apple entered into agreements with PayPal's Venmo and Block's Cash App, aiming to restrict the use of decentralized cryptocurrency technology in payment apps. This alleged conduct resulted in users facing "rapidly inflating prices."
According to the filing, these agreements hinder feature and price competition marketwide, prohibiting the incorporation of decentralized cryptocurrency technology in both existing and new iOS Peer-to-Peer Payment apps. The plaintiffs argue that such constraints lead to inflated fees for users.
The lawsuit contends that Apple employs "technological and contractual restraints," including hardware-enforced App Store exclusivity and "contractual limitations on web browser technology." These measures allegedly grant Apple extensive control over all apps on iPhones and iPads.
The suit claims that, through these restraints, Apple compels new iOS P2P payment apps to exclude crypto as a condition for market entry. The plaintiffs, self-described as customers who incurred inflated fees due to Apple's practices, seek redress for excessive charges and injunctive relief against anti-competitive agreements.
The 58-page class-action document delves into the history and ascent of peer-to-peer payment apps and decentralized cryptocurrencies. It outlines Apple's foray into this market and the alleged consequences of its actions on users.
This is not the first time Apple has faced legal challenges concerning application restrictions. In April, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found Apple in violation of California's competition laws for preventing apps from directing users to non-Apple-linked payment solutions.
As of now, Apple has not issued a statement, leaving the unfolding of this lawsuit uncertain.