Infuriated by Apple's sudden move to ban bitcoin wallet provider Blockchain from its App stores on Wednesday, the bitcoin community flocked to reddit today in a spirited and controversial showing of support for the virtual currency.
Reddit posts abounded decrying Apple's move as an anti-competitive maneuver that positions the Cupertino company against innovation and its core values.
However, there may be no more dedicated bitcoin supporter than Ryan of the YouTube video series Ryan's Range Report, a vlogger and long-range shooting devotee who found a rare combination of his passions when he blasted his iPhone 4S to pieces to voice his displeasure with Apple's decision.
The gesture was not unprompted, however, as it was in response to a reddit post by user round-peg, who engaged the reddit's bitcoin community with a unique proposition. For every 100 upvotes his post received, round-peg indicated that he would "gift someone a Nexus 5 for a video of them smashing their iPhone".
At press time, the post had received more than 2,400 upvotes, and 1,037 comments. Though, notably, round-peg's account was no longer accessible. Round-peg was likely banned for his open solicitation of upvoting, which was in violation of reddit's rules.
Rules of engagement
Round-peg did put a cap on his philanthropy, noting in his post that his offer would extend for "up to 500 upvotes (5 devices)", and that new phones would be distributed on a "first-come, first serve" basis. The user eventually expanded this limit to include six videos.
Round-peg also listed the criteria videos needed to meet to be eligible, which was taken down and later reposted:
- The device must be an iPhone 5 or 5S running iOS7
- The video must be uploaded to YouTube and publicly accessible
- The video must show the participants face, name and why they are smashing the iPhone
- The link must be posted in the initial thread.
The reddit user also posted a number of additional considerations that he felt participants should take into account before creatively discarding their iPhones. Interestingly, round-peg takes his name from a famous Apple commercial:
"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
iPhone fury unleashed
Whatever response roung-peg expected, it was clear that the offer struck a chord in a community that felt betrayed by a company many had come to view as the preeminent voice in the tech industry.
User netpastor took round-peg up on this offer, posting a two-minute video of himself reading round-peg's conditions and ultimately smashing his iPhone 5 with a metal bar.
"This is a game changing decision on Apple's part, and the Bitcoin community won't take it lying down. I'm not a spokesperson, just someone who's very unhappy with this dishonorable action by Apple," netpastor, who goes by the YouTube name Boanerges, wrote in the post.
Round-peg followed up this show of support, with a comment indicating that the replacement phone had been purchased as promised.
User upgradesolution voiced his support with what appeared to be a tire iron.
"I'm about to destroy my iPhone 5 32G, because Apple has decided to block bitcoin apps on their app store."
Reddit user OscarChapa_ felt similarly, also citing Apple's stance toward the NSA as a factor.
"Apple has decided to effectively block any advances in bitcoin and any sort of cryptocurrency, and for a company that promotes any kind of futurism, that is not acceptable," he said before taking a machete to his device.
User Downhill280Z took a more soft-spoken approach, dropping his iPhone down a flight of stairs.
User huskyminers chose the wrench as his weapon of choice:
Stacy Herbert, co-host of the Keiser Report on RT, told CoinDesk that the community reaction is a strong sign that Apple's policies are beginning to alienate core users.
"This decision will ultimately have a bigger negative impact on Apple than it will on bitcoin. Once you become as uncool as Microsoft, it's hard to ever get that groove back. Apple's mistake, however, will be someone else's gain. I would think that immediately, for example, Android smartphones will be the big winner. And we see that with the smashing iPhone videos," Herbert said.
Though some community members chose to view the events as a show of support in the face of Apple's seemingly staunch resistance to bitcoin, others were less amused.
Some redditors suggested that the contest was in poor spirit and that it reflected negatively on bitcoin and the wider community.
What's your opinion of the iPhone smashings? Weigh in below.