Apple Tightens Crypto And NFT Regulations In Its App Store

IMPORTANT NOTES:
  • Apple clarified its rules on cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), outlining what apps can do with these technologies.
  • Apps can provide services to sell NFTs and related services as long as they use Apple’s in-app purchases.
  • All of this means that any type of NFT trading service must use Apple’s contentious in-app payment mechanism. In-app payments are subject to a 30% cut by Apple.
Apple clarified its rules on cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), outlining what apps can do with these technologies. In terms of cryptocurrency exchanges, Apple stated in updated App Store rules published on Monday that apps may facilitate “transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange,” but the app can only be offered in countries or regions where it has licensing and permission to operate a crypto exchange. “Apps may not unlock content or functionality using their own mechanisms,” such as cryptocurrencies or cryptocurrency wallets. Apple has clarified the rules regarding NFTs, which can be a digital representation of a physical asset such as artwork and are typically purchased with cryptocurrency. According to the guidelines, apps may use in-app purchases to sell NFTs and related services such as minting, listing, and transferring these tokens. Apps may also allow users to browse other people’s NFT collections as long as they “do not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.” This means that any NFT trading service must use Apple’s in-app payment mechanism. In-app payments are subject to a 30% cut by Apple. While this does not outright ban NFTs, it does severely limit the types of services that can be offered involving NFTs, given Apple’s 30% cut. Users can view the NFTs they own within an app as long as the token does not “unlock features or functionality within the app.” Users frequently purchase NFTs to gain access to exclusive parts of a service or as a sort of membership card for an app. However, Apple has stated that some of this will not be permitted. App developers have long criticized Apple’s 30% cut, accusing the company of monopolizing in-app purchases. Apple claims that having control over the App Store allows it to ensure app and payment security. It has also been stated that the App Store has given birth to a successful app ecosystem that allows developers to earn money. The 30% cut was the subject of a high-profile legal battle between Epic Games and Apple. Cryptocurrencies have had a volatile and difficult year, with the market as a whole losing approximately $2 trillion since its peak in November.

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