Apple Store allows NFT sales; Taking its share of the cake – Fin Tech
As part of its new App Store policies, Apple has announced that it will allow developers to sell NFTs within apps and games. Despite the restrictions and fees Apple places on certain types of NFT, this is a big deal because, as DigiDaigaku NFT project founder Gabriel Leydon tweeted“…this can put an ETH wallet in every mobile game with 1B+ players!”
Apple’s new NFT policy
Users can now sell and trade NFTs through a variety of apps available on the Apple App Store. Apps that store or display NFTs may have violated Apple’s rules prior to this decision. In September 2021, Gnosis Safe, a crypto wallet that helps users manage and even sell digital assets on Ethereum, had been offering its app on the store for several months when it received notification from Apple that “Apps that have access, whether just is a simple storage or marketplace, is not appropriate for the App Store. We suggest you remove this feature from your app.”
Developers can now sell NFTs with Apple’s approval. However, the company imposes the same monetization structure for NFT sales as it does for other App Store purchases: a 30 percent commission from app developers who earn over $1 million annually through the App Store and 15 percent from smaller sellers. Apple says apps can list, create and transfer NFTs and provide a mechanism for users to view their NFT collections as long as they don’t unlock additional game features or functionality within the app. Apps may also promote other NFT offerings as long as they do not provide external links or purchase media that bypass Apple’s payment system.
Despite being one of the largest technology companies in the world, the Cupertino giant has done little to embrace blockchain technology, and its products are criticized for being too closed. This new development indicates that while progress is slow, Apple is warming up to blockchain technology and its applications.
Apple’s 30% solution remains controversial
Apple’s hefty commission mark has drawn criticism from the global crypto community and drawn contrasts to several other NFT markets. OpenSea and Magic Eden’s commissions hover around 5 percent; others have kept the transaction cost limit as low as 2.5 percent.
Tech blogger Florian Mueller called Apple’s “app tax” on NFT sales “insulting but consistent“, adding that the actual cost to developers can often exceed the 30 percent commissions quoted when referring to the App Store, as some geographic regions are subject to fees as high as approximately 35% in addition to other fees used to run search ads.
Persistent Apple critic, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, too tweeted that Apple is “crushing” another new technology that “could compete with the grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service”, and that Apple’s exorbitant fees could suffocate the entire NFT sector.
Apple’s commission policy is the basis of Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple, which has been ongoing since 2020. The video game publisher sued Apple for not allowing it to use the payment platform instead of the App Store’s in-app purchases and for taking a 30% cut.
Challenges with the secondary market
Magic Eden, the largest Solana NFT marketplace, also needed clarification on the fly, rejecting in-app trading support after hearing intense cost demands from Apple. “Our app remains available in the App Store as a tool that displays Magic Eden listings and mints, but it does not have merchant support,” a Magic Eden spokesperson said.
Secondary NFT sales are also problematic. Magic Eden and OpenSea, for example, usually charge a commission of no more than 5%.
“In this case, if a collector wants to buy an NFT through Magic Eden or the OpenSea app on an iPhone, the seller will only receive 70% of the purchase price,” Blockwork explained. “And the marketplace is unlikely to be interested in making up the difference.”
Apple’s decision to allow NFT sales at the standard premium is a significant roadblock for NFT startups. Several startups have complained about the rules Apple allegedly imposes, and that the fees make using the App store difficult to justify.
While a court ruling last year required Apple to allow links to off-platform payment channels, this may not be relevant to NFT trading because Apple does not accept cryptocurrency payments. All item listings are in dollars and payable in fiat. NFT marketplaces face the challenge of building additional infrastructure to support Apple’s payment system, and NFT dollar prices are constantly changing due to cryptocurrency volatility.
Few blockchains can scale to meet Apple’s user base
But not all Web3 companies have flouted Apple’s guidelines. Some see benefits to Apple’s NFT acceptance because the marketplace and Web3 apps available in their store gain the potential to achieve mass adoption. Besides, a 30 percent commission to Apple is better than being totally banned from the App Store.
Apple can attract hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people to NFT and crypto by validating crypto and NFT. The gaming industry, home to roughly 4 billion online gamers right now, is another sector that can generate big commissions. According to current estimates, fewer than 100,000 people play cryptocurrency games, so integration into iOS apps could bring in thousands or millions of new users.
Apple’s decision to allow developers to sell NFTs in the App Store could be portentous. Apple has traditionally been very protective of how its platforms are used, and this move could be interpreted as a sign that it is starting to loosen restrictions and open up to other types of apps and services. Everything from blockchain-based games to decentralized social networks can fall under this category.
This news has been interpreted as the exploitation of an emerging industry, as well as the green light for Web3 applications to branch out from being the sole province of Android. The truth is that it is both. While this may not be the most important development in the crypto space, it shows that Apple believes in the technology and wants to help it progress. Ultimately, it remains to be seen how Apple’s decision will affect the nascent crypto-app ecosystem and the blockchain industry. For example, games can now find a niche within the expanding ecosystem, with developers encouraged to create more varied games and users willing to invest more time and money in the blockchain world.
This new allowance for NFTs represents a significant step toward digital data decentralization for a company that has long been obsessed with protecting its bottom line. It also shows that Apple is paying attention to what blockchain offers.
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