Thursday, September 29, 2022

App Store Rules for NFT Apps

Aidan Ryan (tweet):

With NFT volumes tanking along with the broader crypto market, marketplace startups could use a boost from using mobile apps to sell their wares. So far, though, most see some obstacles, including the up to 30% commission Apple charges on in-app purchases, as well as pricing conventions that are difficult to apply to volatile digital assets.

The result is that NFT marketplaces don’t even think about selling through an app.

William Gallagher:

In the case of NFT trading between users, a typical marketplace takes just 2% to 3% of the transaction. Under Apple’s rules, companies would lose heavily on every deal.

However, it’s not just the commission that’s an issue. The Information says that a number of NFT firms have the issue that App Store in-app purchasing must be done in dollars, or another physically-backed currency. It does not accept cryptocurrency.

Since the cryptocurrency exchange rate varies enormously, developers can’t just set an equivalent in dollars.


Perhaps backing up that opinion is how Apple reportedly delays approving NFT and crypto apps for the App Store. According to Falin, it took several months to get the Rarible app onto the App Store, as compared to mere days for the Google Play Store.

Florian Mueller:

It’s actually an understatement to say that Apple collects “up to 30% of the transaction”: the app tax even exceeds 30% under certain circumstances, plus developers are increasingly forced to pay for Search Ads as Apple places ads even on individual app pages.

Jessica Lessin, The Information’s founder, asks a spot-on question: “Are there whole segments of the new economy that aren[’]t going through the App Store?”

The founder and CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, describes this as Apple “killing all NFT app businesses it can’t tax, crushing another nascent technology that could rival its grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.”


6 Comments RSS · Twitter


I am totally for opening up app distribution on iOS. But NFTs are not the hill to die on to make this case.

I thought there was a ban on gambling apps

App Store Rules for Music Apps - same same without the NFT speculation vibe though. See my analysis of the Bandcamp acquisition by Epic Games from the perspective of an independent label owner: It's 2022 and you can't sell a digital music on iOS without sharing 30% with Apple.

So you're telling me the 30% cut has at least one positive effect?

At least one part of Apple's user protection is working well!

@Booga There is also no escaping Apple's 30% cut of digital music sales via the browser. Bandcamp doesn't expose the download interface on iOS Safari, I'm sure it's because there is no way to get music downloaded to iOS out of the Files app and into the Music app. You have to use a computer. For many people their iOS device is their primary, if not their only, computing device.

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