Apple appears to be softening its stance on blockchain-based transactions on its App store. At least, tentatively. Is this a turning point for a company that Coinbase’s CEO once accused of not “playing nice” with crypto? Or a dilettantish experiment? What are people in the industry saying?
STEPN, an app that allows you to earn tokens as you walk, will be the first Web3 app to integrate Apple Pay. Customers will be able to connect their credit and debit cards to Apple Pay to purchase NFTs needed for gameplay.
Apple’s Changing Stance
Apple Pay, as a fiat payment method, eliminates the need for users to connect a crypto wallet to purchase in-game assets. This removes a potential barrier for new players joining the ecosystem by eliminating the notoriously complicated process of setting up crypto wallets.
Last week, the Web3 game Axie Infinity announced it will be available for download on Apple’s App Store. Signaling that the tech behemoth is cooling to the idea of allowing blockchain-based apps on its coveted App Store. Apple maintains strict control over its App Store, carefully reviewing and approving apps to ensure compliance with guidelines.
In the view of Phillip Shoemaker, one of the architects of Apple’s App Store and its previous director, the company had intentionally vague rules for which apps made the cut after he left.
“They went through a major change, I would say, right as I was leaving,” Shoemaker said to Decrypt in a recent interview. “Apple had a problem with crypto from day one. They thought it was a Ponzi scheme.”
In 2020, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong expressed dissatisfaction with Apple’s approach to cryptocurrency. He described it as “restrictive and hostile” in a tweet. He mentioned that certain features in the Coinbase app had been blocked, although the tweet was later deleted.
In the spring of 2022, Armstrong criticized the company further in a discussion with Superstream Podcast.
“Apple so far has not really played nice with crypto, they have actually banned a bunch of features that we would like to have in the app, but they just won’t allow it – so there’s potential antitrust issues there,” Armstrong stated.
The recent developments show that the tech giant may be willing to reconsider its position on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Although the path here hasn’t been easy.
In September 2022, Apple made a move to allow NFTs on its App Store, but with a catch. The company permitted only NFTs sold through its own payments system, which imposed a 30% transaction fee. However, just last month, a US court ruled this practice illegal.
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