Apple Clarifies App Store Rules Blocking NFT Tools, External Purchase Links
by James · October 24, 2022
Apple continues to clarify its controversial stance on NFTs.
The tech giant published updates to the App Store Review Guidelines on Monday with new language around NFTs, according to Apple Insider. Briefly summarized, NFTs are allowed to exist in apps on the App Store – but they cannot unlock additional features or content.
“Apps may use in-app purchases to sell and sell services related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), such as minting, listing and transfer,” the new guidelines state. “Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app.”
This can actually deter users from buying NFTs, as a main case for NFTs is that they can sometimes unlock token-gated content. For example Moonbirds NFTs and Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs offer holders exclusive access to various communication channels, goods and other such benefits.
In addition, developers are not allowed to create “buttons, external links or other calls to action” that may tell users how to bypass the App Store to purchase NFTs through other platforms. Instead, the App Store wants users to make in-app purchases.
And paying in crypto is not an option.
The App Store Review Guidelines are important because they tell developers what they can and cannot publish to the App Store. Violation of such guidelines may result in app rejection or removal.
This latest update doubling down on in-app purchases makes sense, considering that Apple has previously announced that it will take a hefty 30% cut of all NFTs sold in apps offered through the platform.
A month ago, the news of the 30% NFT fee disappointed Epic Games CEO and crypto supporter Tim Sweeney, who said Apple “must be stopped” because the move “crushed another new technology to compete with the grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.”
Beyond just NFTs, Apple has also revised some of its language around cryptocurrency exchange apps listed on the App Store.
“Apps may facilitate transactions or transfers of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, provided they are only offered in countries or regions where the app has the appropriate licensing and permissions to provide a cryptocurrency exchange,” the guidelines state.
Apple has yet to respond Decryptits request for comment.