The App Store is opening up to NFTs and cryptocurrencies, but on its own terms

The decision should not really help to silence the accusations of abusive commercial practices to which Apple faced in several countries, including France. On Monday, the apple firm published the new terms of use from its application store, the App Store.

If the American company has obviously decided to further open its ecosystem to non-fungible tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrencies, this will have to be done according to its own rules. Developers can now sell NFTs, but only through an in-app purchase. The holding of NFTs acquired by means other than a purchase through Apple, on the other hand, should not make it possible to unlock new functionalities in an application or to bring any benefit.

In-app purchase or nothing

Apple’s goal? Prevent any other form of currency exchange or disguised payment that could be made outside of the app – and which would allow developers to evade the 30% commission that the App Store takes on each transaction (15% for those generating less than $1 million in revenue per year). It should also be noted that Tim Cook’s company will now also charge 30% on purchases of advertising visibility in applications, which will have to go through its payment system.

This shows that Apple’s motives are solely financial”, reacted in a tweet Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney, a staunch opponent of Apple since 2020 about this commission and in-app purchases. “They support NFTs they tax and ban NFTs they don’t tax“, he added.

And these new rules aren’t just for virtual tokens. “Apps cannot use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, cryptocurrencies, and cryptocurrency wallets“, specify the new conditions of use. Cryptocurrencies will therefore not be an exception either and the applications concerned must also have the authorizations to carry out this type of exchange in the regions in which they operate.

Legislative pressure

It’s quite shocking that despite antitrust lawsuits and mounting legislative and regulatory pressure, Apple is stepping up its efforts in its brazen quest for monopoly rent.”, then added Tim Sweeney. These new rules may indeed come as a surprise as this toll imposed by Apple, as well as the contractual impossibility of escaping it, are or have been the subject of legal battles in several countries such as the United States, South Korea South, the Netherlands… and France.

The Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), under the leadership of Bruno Le Maire, had sued Google and Apple in 2018 for abusive commercial practices. If Google has been condemned by the Paris Commercial Court to a fine of 2 million euros last March, Apple should be fixed on its fate on December 19.

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The App Store is opening up to NFTs and cryptocurrencies, but on its own terms

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