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Are New Apple App Store Updates a Threat to NFT and Web3 Sectors?

2 mins
Updated by Ali M.
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In Brief

  • Apple has released new guidelines related to NFTs on the App Store.
  • It will not allow apps to present links or calls to action that lead users to outside purchases.
  • Some in the crypto community have expressed concern about this new rule, saying that it could affect the NFT market.
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Apple has updated its guidelines on the use of NFTs within its App Store. The assets can be viewed and used, but content cannot be locked behind it, and all purchases must happen within the app.

Apple is sticking by its guns as newly updated guidelines on its app store clarify its stance on NFTs. The tech giant said that NFTs could exist on its app store, but they cannot be used to unlock additional features or content. The company is fine with letting NFTs be viewed and generally used, but the ability to use NFTs to gain more features is a key part of the technology.

Apple makes changes to a lot of aspects related to the crypto market, including crypto wallets and assets. It says that content or functionality cannot be locked behind these. With respect to NFTs, the guidelines say,

“Apps may use in-app purchases to sell and sell services related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs)…[and] may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app. Apps may allow users to browse NFT collections owned by others, provided that the apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.”

Developers are also only allowed to give users the option to pay for purchases in-app. Because of this, they cannot go to another platform. Since Apple does not support crypto payment options, this means paying in this form is not allowed.

Could Apple’s policy affect web3 and NFTs?

The introduction of these guidelines may put the NFT market in a pickle. This is especially true as many continue breaking into the play-to-earn space. For this, they are hoping to enter mobile devices, which is already a hot market for games.

Apple’s rules on NFTs and content locking may have a significant impact on the expansion of the NFT market and potentially the growth of web3. On the one hand, some may praise the company for allowing everyone to gain access to content. On the other, it prevents one of the key features of NFTs.

Now uncertainty exists with NFT pricing

Apple is known for taking a 30% cut on in-app purchases. Called the “Apple Tax,” the company has refused to budge on this position for NFTs. This creates a pricing problem for NFTs, as in-app purchases have to use pre-set prices like $14.99. However, this does not work with the market’s dynamic pricing.

Not everyone seems pessimistic about the future of NFTs on Apple platforms, though. Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, believes that the increasing popularity of blockchain gaming will result in Apple no longer taking a 30% cut. The guidelines posted recently are a departure from that, so it’s not clear how the future will pan out.

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Rahul Nambiampurath
Rahul Nambiampurath's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014 when he stumbled upon Satoshi's Bitcoin whitepaper. With a bachelor's degree in Commerce and an MBA in Finance from Sikkim Manipal University, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has helped DeFi platforms like Balancer and Sidus Heroes — a web3 metaverse — as well as CEXs like Bitso (Mexico's biggest) and Overbit to reach new heights with his...