Apple wants to regulate NFTs in the App Store and has made several changes to its App Store that would regulate the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
What is an NFT?
An NFT is a non-fungible token, which means it is a unique digital asset that cannot be replaced by another identical asset. NFTs are often used to represent items such as digital art, collectibles, and in-game assets.
Apple has announced sweeping changes to its App Store guidelines that will crack down on NFT activity. They added to section 3.1.1, which states: “Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app”. According to Theo Priestly, CEO at Metanomic, this means:
“Apple supports NFTs and Web3 where they can tax it and won’t support it where they can’t – so token gating via iOS is out the window and making any money from NFTs or selling digital assets via Apple nets barely anything over time.”
Token gating is a path for Web3 companies to monetize their content and provide access to their goods using digital tokens.
The section continues to say, “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 purchases.”
It seems that Apple has lumped NFTs in its 30% all-inclusive tax, exactly what they do with most of the other products in a move that will surely raise antitrust concerns as they seek to prohibit NFTs from bypassing Apple’s in-app purchasing mechanism.
Apple and the Metaverse
NFT Today Magazine reported on Meta’s struggles with the Metaverse earlier this month; this move by Apple sends a clear message that they see a different version of the Metaverse, as Theo Priestly elaborates:
“NFTs and other Web3 mechanisms feature heavily with Metaverse initiatives, this means that Apple’s idea of what the metaverse is will be tightly under their control – in effect, another part of their walled garden only if they comply.”
Big Tech Awakening
As the world of cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) continues to grow, so does the need for regulation. While some in the crypto community have been advocating for self-regulation, it’s clear that big tech has taken it upon themselves to chart their path and it appears that even the tech giant is starting to pay attention to the crypto world.
Rocco Strydom is the Founder of SGM Holdings – finance, energy and media and is the host of the
SGM podcast based in South Africa