Erik Weijers, 6 months ago

Coinbase: Apple blocks our app update over NFT transfers

Crypto exchange Coinbase has announced that customers using Apple’s iOS will not be able to send or receive NFTs on their Coinbase Wallet, for the time being. Apple blocked the latest app release until Coinbase disables the NFT transfer feature.

The background of Apple’s standpoint is that it wants to apply its regular 30% tax to the gas fees on NFT transactions. Coinbase claims that “for anyone who understands how NFTs and blockchains work, this is clearly not possible”. 

Coinbase stated that Apple’s in-app purchase system does not support crypto so Coinbase couldn’t comply even if it tried. They added that the policy was like Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email that gets sent over open internet protocols. They are owned by nobody and hence it's strange to tax activities on such a protocol.

Apple’s stranglehold

In October, released its NFT policy and announced the tax on in-app sales, which didn’t please the NFT community: 'grotesquely overpriced'. Another thing that felt crippling was that, while NFTs are allowed to exist within apps on the App Store, they can’t unlock additional features or content. This restriction amounts to a very narrow view of NFT's as 'expensive jpegs'. Whereas NFTs can also function as for example membership cards, entry tickets to events, and unlock all kinds of other perks.

Apple’s action has uncovered how broad their definition is of the ‘jurisdiction’ they think they have. According to them, any financial transaction through their operating system is an event that they can tax. Apple’s action makes it look like they want to curb an internet protocol from taking off.

Coinbase, by the way, keeps open the possibility that it was oversight on Apple’s part. Coinbase is open to discussing the matter.

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