Apple Welcomes NFTs in App Store Under Tight New Rules
Crypto Proponents Fret Computer Giant's 'Legacy Thinking' Ill Suited For Crypto
By: Owen Fernau •NFT News
With an update to its App Store Review Guidelines, Apple reminded crypto proponents that regulators aren’t the only major players directing the space’s trajectory.
On Monday, Apple made a number of changes to its on how users may access and use NFTs in its ecosystem. For starters, the policy said users may buy and sell NFTs on apps featured in its store but must use its in-app payment system. Apps must also be licensed in the nations where they operate.
In addition, apps “may not use their own mechanism to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality makers, QR codes, cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrency wallets etc.”
Crypto proponents were wary of the policy clarification. “A big positive is Apple is saying yes, you can sell NFTs,” Jason Baptiste, CEO at YDY, a fitness-focused crypto company, told The Defiant. “The bad news is they’re applying legacy thinking to a brand new technology. It’s not a collaborative approach.”
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Baptiste said Apple could profit nicely and onboard more users into blockchain-enabled ecosystems if it worked with crypto developers to shape its App Store’s policies.
Crypto has long held a tenuous relationship with traditional tech companies, and especially Apple, the world’s most valuable company with a $1.2T market cap. The computer and mobile phone maker is famed for controlling customization and experimentation by its partners to protect a seamless user experience on its devices.
Apple also keeps a tight hold on its App Store, where the company takes a 30% cut of all in-app purchases. With its new guidelines, the company makes it clear NFT activity falls within the purview of that 30% fee and will prevent users from deploying tokens to sidestep charges.
Tim Sweeney, one of the pioneers of modern video games and creator of the original game engine Unreal, thinks Apple is showing its true colors with the update.
“To cryptocurrency enthusiasts, this means Apple is now adding a 30% tax on your so-called “true ownership” of digital goods,” he posted on Twitter. “To cryptocurrency detractors, this shows Apple’s motivations are only money. For digital items, they support NFTs they tax, and ban NFTs they don’t tax.”
Still, how Apple interprets its own guidelines will reveal a lot about what developers specifically can and can’t do. “The next steps for developers will be submitting apps and seeing how Apple handles acceptances [and] rejections,” Baptiste said. “It’s too early to say how bad or good these rules are until they start getting applied to real world app submissions.”