Recent changes to Apple’s NFT policy have been divisive within the crypto and tech communities.
Apple’s NFT policy is causing controversy.
On October 24, Apple updated its App Store guidelines to change its policy regarding NFTs.
The new policy explicitly allows app developers to “sell“non-fungible tokens. This means that applications can allow “typing, quotation and transfer” of NFT in the application.
A huge caveat, however, is that the policy does not allow the sale of NFT “utilities“. Application developers cannot allow users to unlock functions or features in the application with NFTs, nor can they redirect users to external purchase mechanisms.
These limitations will likely be detrimental to blockchain-based games that use NFTs. However, it is not clear that such applications will be very prevalent, as its app store query only includes nine NFT applications.
Apple began supporting NFTs in late September, when it was criticized for relying on its own payment mechanism. This approach means that Apple adds a 30 percent tax on NFT sales in revenue apps – a policy that also applies to other apps with transactions.
Reactions are mixed
Reaction to the new policy has been mixed. Apple’s policy has been recognized positively by some, with headlines of Forbes and Game developer highlighting the fact that the new App Store policy explicitly takes NFTs into account.
Others have criticized Apple for the restrictive nature of its policy and its excessive 30% taxation.
To cryptocurrency enthusiasts, this means Apple is now adding a 30% tax on your so-called “true ownership” of digital goods.
To crytocurrency detractors, this shows Apple’s motivations are only money. For digital items, they support NFTs they tax, and ban NFTs they don’t tax. https://t.co/RWZC1rSUwh
– Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) October 24, 2022
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, criticized both sides by saying that Apple is neither for nor against NFTs, but is motivated solely by money. “They support the NFTs they tax, and ban the NFTs they don’t tax“, observed Tim Sweeney.
Apple’s making web3/nfts play by the same in-app purchase rules that other apps have to, and watching the whole sphere melt down in response is just…
– rossipedia 🇺🇦 (@rossipedia) October 25, 2022
Some have noted that Apple’s restrictive NFT policy is not entirely unique. Bryan Ross, software engineer at Docker, noted the absurdity of Apple’s introduction of “same in-app purchase rules as other apps, and watch the entire computer industry collapse“.
Yat Siu, co-founder of blockchain-focused gaming company Animoca Brands, suggested that Apple’s restrictions are only possible because of its current dominance. He argued that the economic opportunity for blockchain games will become “so heavy, as an open market“, that Apple “will eventually capitulate.“
Today’s news comes alongside a CFA Discussion regarding Big Tech and its impact on personal finance. These discussions are intended to create a pro-competitive approach to these markets.
While not specifically related to Apple’s NFT policy, these discussions could lead to future regulatory changes, which would impact Apple’s NFT and payments policies.