Apple is adding standardizing acceptance of NFT-based apps to be available on the Apple App Store. However, the company is including their standard 30% transaction fees for all transactions, a mechanism that many NFT firms argue is unreasonable and simply not feasible for their existence in the store.
Let’s take a look at why this is happening and what we can expect moving forward.
The App Store’s Adjustment
In a report first unveiled by Aidan Ryan at The Information, Apple has reportedly told startups that NFTs are permitted to be sold on apps listed in Apple’s App Store, but that all NFT sales must go through in-app purchases, which would be subject to Apple’s exorbitant fees. As Ryan aptly notes, this has forced young projects and platforms to limit functionality in-app in an effort to dodge those 30% fees – despite the fact that Apple plays no part in facilitating those transactions outside of accepting a respective app’s presence in the App Store.
Tech patent blogger FOSS Patents has noted that actual costs to developers can actually oftentimes exceed the 30% commission that is often cited when referencing the App Store; FOSS has argued that certain geographic areas are subject to fees that can be as high as roughly 35%, and be forced to pay for search ads. The Information founder Jessica Lessin shared a sentiment that was echoed by FOSS and comes as Apple’s commission fees face immense criticism: “Are there whole segments of the new economy that aren’t going through the App Store?”
Apple (AAPL) price movement over the past month has been largely on par with the broader market. | Source: NASDAQ: AAPL on TradingView.com
Fees Fuel Debate
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney shared his thoughts on the matter in a tweet on Friday, describing App Store mechanics as a “grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.” Sweeney has had plenty of conflict around App Store commissions, as Epic’s flagship title ‘Fortnite’ was removed from the App Store after Epic sought to circumvent the aforementioned fee structure. Sweeney has long argued that Apple’s commission rates are not developer-friendly and leave little benefit for the growth of the industry.
Sweeney previously took a neutral stance around NFTs, but Epic has since shown an attitude that continues to be developer-first (whether that includes NFTs or not). Other critics have argued that this stance from Apple only bodes well for upcoming crypto-native competitors, such as the speculated ‘Solana mobile‘ project in the works.
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