A variety of barriers exist against the mainstream adoption of DeFi products and services. All of the obvious things such as accessibility, simplicity, and user-experience play vital roles.
However, the biggest barrier of all may lie in the hands of a few: App store gatekeepers.
Both the Google Play and Apple app stores have been involved in incidents related to cryptocurrency apps within the last week.
The first issue came at the hands of Apple, whose app store policies sprouted concerns at Coinbase over their wallet app. Anxious about having their app removed from the store, Coinbase issued a statement that they may soon disable their dApp browser functionality.
A second major incident occurred only yesterday, as the Google Play store banned the popular Android MetaMask client. Google claimed that the app was removed due to a violation of policies against crypto mining, despite MetaMask having no mining functionality.
Playing it safe
The unrelenting hand of app store authorities has pushed many crypto apps to forfeit ease-of-use in exchange for safety, in a similar manner to Coinbase.
A common approach in the DeFi space has been the removal of native dApp support, sending users to in-app browsers instead. This workaround allows the app provider to steer clear of any policy violations, while still enabling indirect connectivity to DeFi services.
Unfortunately, the price paid is a significant hindrance to user experience. In-app browsers are difficult and annoying to use and push DeFi apps one step further away from competing with traditional finance apps.
For DeFi to be utilized by the average Joe as a viable alternative to traditional financial services, ease-of-use is paramount. Sacrificing this for app-store safety is simply not a feasible long-term solution.
What is the solution?
In order for DeFi apps to gain more clarity and assurance in their availability via app stores, we could benefit from two key improvements:
- Better app store policies and decision transparency
The ambiguity of app store policies pertaining to cryptocurrency is an issue that needs to be addressed. Having developers disable key features of their apps for “safety” is a counterproductive practice for both the developer and the app stores themselves.
Clearer reasoning for suspensions and bans are also important, and the appeal process should be more transparent for the benefit of the wider industry.
- DeFi regulation at the state government-level.
Having DeFi products and services more widely regulated on the government level would bring more legitimacy to the space.
This is likely to be the more effective case, as app stores will have less authority in deeming what is acceptable and what is not in the realm of cryptocurrency.
No quick fix
Regardless of which improvements we see arrive first, one thing is clear: There will be no quick fix.
In the short-run, crypto app developers will remain at the mercy of the app stores. They will have no choice but to continue to err on the side of caution, until clarity comes.
Has your favorite app been affected? Let us know in the comments below.