A few months ago, news broke about Apple’s rules regarding NFT transactions via its app store. It was revealed that Apple would charge a 30% commission on all NFT transactions that took place through the app store and would not allow redirects to external platforms. This was a move that was met with criticism within the blockchain space and concern about how it would affect businesses.
This is once again making the rounds within the news cycle as Coinbase, a top digital asset platform, has revealed that Apple is blocking its latest app update due to the rule.
Coinbase vs Apple?
In a series of tweets from December 1, 2022, Coinbase revealed that users are unable to send NFTs within its iOS app. The reason for this, it says, is Apple’s disabling their features.
“You might have noticed you can’t send NFTs on Coinbase Wallet iOS anymore. This is because Apple blocked our last app release until we disabled the feature,” the tweet says.
Coinbase also reveals that Apple wants to gas fees associated with sending NFTs to be sent through its in-app system so it can collect the now-infamous 30% commission. Considering the fact that gas fees are paid on-chain, it is not possible to have them be paid through a centralised platform and as such, the two are at an impasse.
This was also pointed out by Coinbase in the Twitter thread to its users.
“Apple’s proprietary In-App Purchase system does not support crypto so we couldn’t comply even if we tried. This is akin to Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email that gets sent over open Internet protocols,” it said.
And this policy, Coinbase says, does not just affect people to who want to buy new NFTs but even those who already have them. Simply put, anyone who has existing NFTs in their Coinbase wallet will find it very hard to move them to another platform or gift them. They are, essentially, stuck in limbo for the foreseeable future.
When Apple first announced its 30% commission rule, many with insider knowledge of blockchain pointed out how faulty this logic was. First, it is an unreasonable percentage given that many platforms don’t even charge that much and it would eat into their profits significantly.
Then there is the fact that, as Coinbase has pointed out, enforcing these rules for on-chain transactions is virtually impossible. Overall, the situation has proven quite frustrating.
But Coinbase isn’t giving up as it ended its Twitter thread by saying, “We hope this is an oversight on Apple’s behalf and an inflection point for further conversations with the ecosystem. @apple – we’re here and want to help.”
The Issue at Hand
The whole saga with Apple shows why blockchain education is needed within traditional tech platforms to prevent situations like this. It also shows that as NFTs become more mainstream, some friction with existing platform rules is somewhat inevitable and needs to be worked through.