Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores in the EU

Apple and the NFT industry have been in a back-and-forth for a few months now. This all started after it was revealed that Apple would be charging a 30% fee for all in-app NFT transactions and would not allow for redirection to third-party sites. This led to backlash from the NFT sector and the iOS App store was even called out by Coinbase.

Now, it seems that there might be a loophole to these rules. This comes as a result of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, a set of anti-monopoly rules that are set to be rolled out in the EU from 2024. These rules, according to reports, will mean that Apple will have to allow its customers to download third-party app stores and potentially avoid the company’s stringent requirements for in-app purchases. 

What These New Laws Mean

One of the first things to note is that Apple is one of the biggest mobile device retailers in the world and chances are, many of those who want to buy NFTs on mobile apps are using an Apple device. But currently, apps can only be downloaded on Apple devices on the iOS store which is controlled by Apple.

And the current rules of a 30% commission and no external redirection means that NFT buyers and sellers using Apple devices have no choice. But once these laws kick in, Apple will have to enable to downloading of external app store which might not have such restrictions. This could be very beneficial for business that trade in NFTs such as Coinbase which called out Apple for its rules just this month.

Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores in the EU

According to sources close to the situation, Apple intends to comply with this requirement and will allow for third-party app stores through its iOS 17 software update which is due in late 2023. But while the apps can be downloaded through this update, Apple is reportedly still deciding whether or not the third-party apps will be allowed to use their own payments infrastructure. 

But regardless of what decision is taken by Apple, this is a big win for the NFT sector. And if similar anti-monopoly measures are adopted by regions outside of the UK, we could see NFT buyers have even more access. 

Why This is Needed

As has been stated, these laws are anti-monopoly measures being adopted by the EU and they exist for a reason. Case in point, Apple has a monopoly on in-app dealings on its devices and this has, essentially, held the entire NFT industry in limbo. With laws that break this monopoly, consumers are not beholden to a single institution. 

At the end of the day, isn’t that the idea behind blockchain? That consumers are empowered by a decentralized world? As this new feature rolls out, we can expect to see a more robust world of mobile NFT transactions and the industry will be all the better for it. And in its wake, we can also expect to see more advocacy for these same laws outside of the EU.


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