Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, is seeking the dismissal of a consumer lawsuit that accuses the company of unfairly restricting apps facilitating cryptocurrency transactions, consequently driving up fees on platforms such as Venmo and Cash App.
In a filing on Friday in a California federal court, Apple argued that the four Venmo and Cash App users who initiated the antitrust lawsuit failed to provide evidence of any unlawful app regulations or business agreements.
This legal battle, initiated in November, alleges that Apple’s constraints on cryptocurrency technology have negatively impacted competition in the peer-to-peer payments sector, leading to increased fees for transactions on PayPal’s Venmo and Block’s Cash App.
The lawsuit targets Apple as the sole defendant.
Apple’s response contends that the lawsuit is based on a “highly speculative hypothesis” regarding inflated consumer fees and fails to demonstrate how cryptocurrency transactions can serve as reasonable substitutes for the instant cash and credit card transactions offered by Venmo and Cash App.
As of now, neither Apple’s spokesperson nor the plaintiffs’ attorneys have commented on the matter, according to Reuters.
Peer-to-peer payment apps enable users to transfer funds directly from their mobile devices to another user’s account.
The plaintiffs argue that Apple, Venmo, and Cash App have consistently raised transaction and service fees without any competitive oversight.
The lawsuit further alleges that Apple has excluded at least two Bitcoin wallet apps from its ecosystem.
Apple maintains that its app guidelines for developers, which involve cryptocurrency technology, impose licensing criteria but do not explicitly prohibit apps facilitating cryptocurrency transactions.
This case is part of a larger pattern of antitrust accusations leveled against Apple, with a federal judge previously allowing payment card issuers to sue the company for alleged anticompetitive practices in relation to its Apple Pay mobile wallet.
The lawsuit bears the name Lamartine Pierre et al v. Apple Inc, and it is currently before the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California under the case number 5:23-cv-05981.
Legal representation for the plaintiffs is provided by Yavar Bathaee and Brian Dunne of Bathaee Dunne, while Apple is represented by Belinda Lee and Sarah Ray of Latham & Watkins.