Erik Weijers, a month ago
Apple has released its NFT policy and the NFT community is not pleased. Among other things, Apple wants to keep taxing in-app sales with its standard 30% tax. Onlookers from crypto aren't pleased: 'grotesquely overpriced'.
With the new App Store Review Guidelines, it appears that Apple grudgingly allows NFTs to exist in its ecosystem, while wanting to keep a grip of the technology to the point of a stranglehold. For example, while NFTs are allowed to exist within apps on the App Store—they can’t unlock additional features or content: “Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app.”
This restriction amounts to a very narrow view of NFT's as 'expensive jpegs'. Whereas NFTs are in many instances already much more. For example, they might act as membership cards, entry tickets to events, and unlock all kinds of other perks for their owners.
Whereas OpenSea, the main NFT sales platform, charges 2.5% for NFT sales, Apple has decided to stick to its infamous 30% tax on sales. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called the tax 'grotesquely overpriced'. Apple makes sure that NFT sales stay in-app: developers aren’t allowed to create “buttons, external links, or other calls to action” that might tell users how to circumvent the App Store to buy NFTs through other platforms.
Oh, and one more thing: paying in crypto for NFT's is not possible.
Earlier this year, we saw a few big companies get into NFTs. For example, we heard about eBay releasing an NFT collection. But eBay is still not integrating any blockchain directly into its marketplace. Buyers need to pay with PayPal and only then can redeem their NFTs in their own wallets.
Another example is Starbucks, moving its traditional loyalty program into the metaverse. The online environment will have a built-in marketplace where members can purchase ‘limited-edition stamps’ (NFTs). Again, it's an interesting experiment by one of the world's biggest brands. But it requires no crypto wallet, like MetaMask, to take part. Starbucks customers pay for their NFT with their credit cards.
It's maybe understandable that big brands want to keep their own gardens walled - like Apple does, who would have expected otherwise? - and on the other hand don't want to alienate most of their customers by requiring them to connect with a crypto wallet. But it's still a pity and it shows there is a long way to go. Crypto might want to build their own version of eBay and the App store. In fact, they are already doing that. They are not waiting for the permission of the incumbents.
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