Apple continues to clarify its hotly debated position on NFTs by rejecting calls to exempt NFTs from the 30% “Apple Tax” on in-app purchases.
According to Apple Insider, the tech giant updated its App Store Review Guidelines on Monday with new language regarding NFTs. In short, NFTs are permitted within App Store apps but cannot unlock additional features or content.
However, Apple’s de facto ban on NFT trading in apps is likely to remain. This is because in-app NFT transactions must use Apple’s in-app commerce rails, which require a 30% cut. Fees have long been a source of contention for creators and marketplaces, with many preferring to limit in-app NFT functionality rather than lose a large chunk of revenue.
Just last month, The Information reported on how Apple’s fee policies are driving marketplaces and creators away from its ecosystem, even leading to outright abandonment of NFT integrations.
Because Apple’s “in-app purchase” service does not accept crypto payments, apps that choose to offer NFT mints appear unlikely to accept crypto in exchange.
Apple’s App Store guidelines were updated on Monday for the first time to include specific rules for NFTs.
The policy change also prohibits apps from providing exclusive access to NFT owners or linking their users to third-party sites where they can buy, sell, and mint outside the Apple ecosystem, thereby avoiding the ” Apple Tax ” fee.”
“Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency wallets, etc.,” reads section 3.1.1. of its App Store rules on Oct. 24 (the crypto mentions do not appear in an Oct. 22 version).
The revised language does not fundamentally alter Apple’s existing policies, which allow in-app crypto trading on services such as Coinbase and FTX, which do not charge 30% fees.
Revised 3.1.5(iii): “Exchanges: Apps may facilitate transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange, provided they are offered only in countries or regions where the app has appropriate licensing and permissions to provide a cryptocurrency exchange.”