Apple Bans NFT Utility  – Continues 30% NFT Commission
Apple Bans NFT Utility  – Continues 30% NFT Commission

The news isn’t great for NFTs following tech giant Apple’s updated App Store review guidelines released Monday October 24 — the rules allow for displaying in-app NFTs but ban the use of NFTs to unlock additional content or features within apps.

In addition to restrictions on NFT usage, the guidelines also state that apps must use Apple’s ‘in-app’ purchase functionality exclusively for any payments required to mint, list or transfer NFTs. The use of any other external payment method, including crypto, is not allowed. 

Apple forces apps to use its ‘in-app’ purchase functionality because it allows the company to collect what’s colloquially known as the ‘Apple Tax’ — a 30 percent surcharge applied to every payment made using ‘in-app’ purchases.

For context, NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Magic Eden charge a 2.5 percent commission on sales.

No Token-locked Content on App Store

Apple’s updated guidelines seem to intentionally limit the functionality of NFTs by preventing some of their most interesting use cases. For example, the guidelines specifically state that NFTs cannot be used to unlock token-locked functionality within the app:

“Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app.” 

Apple’s App Store review guidelines

Banning the use of NFTs in this way will substantially restrict their utility in apps available on Apple’s App Store and may even impact NFT prices.

No External Payments, Including Crypto

The guidelines also specifically ban the use of external links to non-Apple payment methods:

“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.”

Apple’s App Store review guidelines

While banning external forms of payment is standard practice for Apple — enabling them to collect a 30 percent surcharge on transactions— it seems to make less sense in the context of NFTs since they’re a form of crypto and are most often traded using other cryptocurrencies, not fiat currencies.

The new guidelines also updated some language around crypto exchange apps intended to ensure they’re compliant with local regulations:

“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.”

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