Apple allows third-party apps for iPhone users, signals potential boom for NFTs

Apple allows third-party apps for iPhone users, signals potential boom for NFTs

After 15 years of global smartphone dominance through its brick-and-mortar App Store, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) is finally opening up its iPhone and iPad devices to alternative app stores in a move that could bring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital currency to over 1.2 billion units.

A report from Bloomberg revealed that senior engineers at the smartphone giant are working on a plan to finally integrate third-party apps for iPhone users. The changes, which Apple has invested billions of dollars to oppose, come in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act. The law requires tech firms with a market capitalization of at least $80 billion to allow users to install third-party apps and for outside developers to have equal access to all core app features.

While the law goes into full effect in 2024, Bloomberg reports that Apple is already working on these integrations.

The integration will mean that app developers can now avoid the hefty 30% cut that Apple imposes on App Store applications. This cut has been the subject of heated debates in the tech world and even led to lawsuits, but Apple has managed to come out on top, at least until now.

The move is quite significant for the blockchain world and could usher in a new era for NFTs and digital asset payments. A new product that developers can now build is an app store for digital assets, says Alex Salnikov, the founder of NFT marketplace Rarible.

There could be an even bigger boom for NFTs. Apple’s current 30% cut has been a major deterrent to NFT marketplaces, causing most of them to forego the App Store. For some like Magic Eden that have iOS apps, they only allow users to browse, not buy or sell.

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In the October update, Apple further cracked down on the sector, revealing that it would not allow NFT apps to include buttons or calls to action that give users a way to bypass the 30% commission.

The commission forced Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN ) to announce earlier this month that it would no longer support NFTs on its iOS app. In its criticism of the 30% commission, the exchange claimed it was akin to “Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email sent over open Internet protocols.”

Although it is working to open up its app ecosystem, the company is reportedly still unsure whether it will allow third-party apps to use its own payment infrastructure. The company has always forced developers and app publishers to use their own payment rails. If it were to allow third-party payment infrastructure, the firm would create an opportunity for app developers to build Bitcoin-powered payment rails for iPhone users.

While Apple opening up its devices to other app stores would be a net win for both developers and users, it could also pose security challenges. The risk will be even higher for digital asset enthusiasts as the industry has a higher than average presence of fraudsters.

Recently, security experts caught a North Korean hacker group targeting victims through Somora, an app that claims to offer users a way to securely store digital assets. The app is loaded with malware that infiltrates users’ devices and cleans their crypto wallets.

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The app is not available on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. The hackers rely on a link that redirects victims to the website that hosts the app.

See: The presentation of the BSV Global Blockchain Convention, Buzzmint: Elevating NFTs

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