- Apple said that the program deceived consumers by offering “non-fungible tokens” that could not be resold and were not stored on a blockchain.
- Although the software looks questionable, this is not entirely the developer’s fault; the application appears to have been created to work inside the gray area of Apple’s non-existent guidance for NFTs.
- While some applications may justify Apple’s tariff on prior NFT sales, the same expenses cannot be justified for secondary peer-to-peer purchases of previously held NFTs.
Apple contended that the app misled customers by offering “NFTs” that could not be resold and were not kept on a blockchain. The app appears to be a little suspect, but that is not entirely the developer’s fault; the program seems to have been developed to operate inside the gray area of Apple’s non-existent advice for NFTs. (It’s worth mentioning that Apple reinstalled it in the App Store within an hour of our live report). This entire tiny story raises a more intriguing question:
What are Apple’s specific ambitions for NFTs?
On the one hand, Apple would want to exclude NFTs from the App Store formally. Apple has maintained that a critical aspect of the App Store’s functionality is safeguarding customers against frauds – a challenging task in today’s NFT climate. Regulating the sector from within Apple’s walled garden of the App store sounds like a nightmare, requiring Apple to effectively create its own internal SEC.
However, this is a critical point; Apple also likes money and income from the App Store’s services. Gaming is the most popular area in the App Store, generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue for Apple each year. The idea of gaming businesses adopting NFTs significantly over the next decade becomes increasingly plausible, and Apple’s monopoly on in-app payments in mobile gaming would dramatically suffer.
How does Apple account for NFTs and blockchain assets in its IAP in-app payment system?
While particular applications may be able to justify Apple’s tax on prior NFT sales, the exact costs can never be justified for secondary peer-to-peer purchases of already-owned NFTs. While several NFT stores, such as OpenSea and Rarible, have already developed native applications on the App Store, these apps only allow users to see NFTs – not to interact with their storefronts. The majority of legitimate NFT firms debate how to proceed on mobile, and Apple’s delay in issuing clear instructions may encourage more developers to invest in web-based experiences that circumvent App Store standards.
One thing is sure: if Apple provides a special exemption for NFTs under its own App Store guidelines, it will do it on its terms. They might go in various directions; we could imagine a scenario where Apple restricts access to particular assets to specific blockchains or even builds its own. However, Apple’s road to complete control of the user experience would need Apple to take a direct role in developing their intelligent contracts for NFTs, which developers may be obliged to adopt to comply with App Store guidelines.
This might easily be explained as a measure to guarantee that users have a consistent experience and have confidence in NFT systems available on the App Store. These smart contracts might automate the payment of Apple royalties and establish a new in-app payment fee pipeline that could even survive beyond transactions conducted outside the Apple ecosystem(!). Additionally, more complicated functionality might allow Apple to manage operations such as transaction reversal.
None of these actions would be popular with existing developers. Apple imposing restrictions on how smart contracts are designed and which ones are permitted to be utilized would represent a sea change in the crypto industry, causing significant disruption in the developer ecosystem. However, one can hope it is evident that Apple will struggle to ignore this market for much longer.