New Apple rules double down on 30% NFT tax and geo-boundary exchanges

New Apple rules double down on 30% NFT tax and geo-boundary exchanges

Tech heavyweight Apple has clarified its App Store rules around non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency exchanges, marking the first time it has codified specific rules for NFTs.

The new rules confirm how NFT purchases are to be taxed and what they can and cannot be used for, while also clarifying rules around when a crypto exchange app can be listed.

The October 24 App Store policy update added language that allows for in-app purchases of NFTs, but precludes NFTs acquired elsewhere from being used for anything other than display.

It also allows apps to use in-app purchases to “sell and sell services” related to NFTs such as “coining, listing and transfer.”

However, the tech company is apparently reducing its NFT “Apple tax” – which lumps in-app NFT purchases into the standard 30% commission rate on all purchases – by ensuring that all NFT purchases are made in-app.

Apps will not be allowed to include “buttons, external links or other calls to action” that could give users a way to bypass app store commissions when purchasing NFTs. It also prevents apps from using mechanisms “such as […] QR Codes, Cryptocurrencies and Cryptocurrency Wallets” that can be used to unlock content or functionality within an app.

The rules come despite the company facing criticism for applying a 30% commission to NFT sales made through NFT marketplace apps such as OpenSea or Magic Eden, a move that has been flagged as “grotesquely overpriced” compared to the average 2.5% commission on NFT purchases.

Magic Eden said it removed the service from the App Store after learning of the policy, and other NFT marketplaces have scaled back application functionality with users only able to browse and view their NFTs.

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Apple’s policies have also ruled out the use of crypto for in-app purchases, allowing only fiat currency purchases with a “valid payment method” such as a debit or credit card.

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The new guidelines make no changes to Apple’s existing guidelines for cryptocurrency trading apps put forward by exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase where trades are not subject to the 30% “Apple tax”.

However, new language was added to clarify that cryptocurrency exchange apps can only be offered in their app in “countries or regions where the app has appropriate licensing and permits to offer a cryptocurrency exchange.”