At least three online wallet apps were removed from the store without prior notification
Google banned at least three of the top online cryptocurrency wallets from Play Store over the course of yesterday night. While the reasons for the removal have not been enlightened yet, Bitcoin.com CEO, Roger Ver, blames Google’s new cryptocurrency mining policy.
According to experts in ethical hacking from the International Institute of Cyber Security, in the last 12 hours Google have eliminated the cryptocurrency wallet apps Bitcoin Wallet (managed by Bitcoin.com), Copay and BitPay. The curious part is that none of these are cryptocurrency mining apps, nor are they advertised with such characteristics.
Google has made no comment about this decision, although that should not be a surprise, given its policy of not making public statements in cases like this. Bitcoin.com executive director has hinted that Google’s updated Play Store policy has mistakenly identified online wallet apps as cryptocurrency mining software, a practice that Google has stopped encouraging, eliminating any app of this type of the Play Store.
“Google told us that it was because they no longer allowed mining apps” wrote Ver. “I have no idea how they came to the conclusion that our app is mining software”.
Until now, only Bitcoin.com has been able to relocate itself in the Play Store, while BitPay mentions that Google will include its app in the course of the next few hours.
According to data provided by specialists in ethical hacking, Android users have installed both BitPay and Copa and more than 100k times, each. Bitcoin Wallet has more than a million users.
Developers share the code of these apps through GitHub, so the possibility of malicious agents injecting cryptocurrency mining scripts into an update is quite small. Although BitPay does not receive a cut in mining fees, its developers have drawn attention by imposing additional “web” fees to cover the platform’s maintenance costs.
As strange as it may seem, these events should not cause surprise. New Google’s virtual currencies policies have had a difficult start, despite good intentions. In the period prior to the beginning of the new policies, experts in ethical hacking discovered that Play Store hosted a large number of apps that could extract virtual assets on a device and had not yet been eliminated.
Subsequently, Google eliminated a cloud-based cryptocurrency mining application with more than a million users, even after stopping to encourage mining applications on smartphones.