Apple is preparing to allow third-party app stores on its devices in order to meet with new anti-monopolistic EU laws, which might be a significant gain for crypto and NFT app developers, at least in Europe.
According to a Dec. 13 Bloomberg report citing those familiar with the matter, under the new rules, European customers would be able to download alternative app marketplaces outside of Apple’s proprietary App Store, allowing them to download apps that avoid Apple’s 30% commissions and app restrictions.
Apple now has strict limitations for NFT applications that effectively require users to make in-app purchases subject to Apple’s 30% fee, while apps are not authorised to accept cryptocurrency payments.
Apple’s implementation of its regulation resulted in the blocking of Coinbase’s self-custody wallet app update on December 1 because Apple sought to “capture 30% of the gas price” via in-app sales, which is “obviously not feasible,” according to Coinbase.
It went on to say that Apple intended the wallet to disable NFT transactions if they couldn’t be completed via its in-app purchase mechanism. On December 13, co-founder of NFT marketplace Rarible Alex Salnikov tweeted in reaction to the news that a “crypto app store” might be established and would be a “wonderful candidate” for a venture capital-backed firm.
The decision by Apple to open its ecosystem comes in reaction to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which aims to regulate so-called “gatekeepers” and guarantee platforms behave fairly, with one of the provisions enabling “third parties to interoperate with the gatekeeper’s own services.”
It will go into effect in May 2023, with corporations required to completely comply by 2024. Apple has not determined whether it would comply with a provision of the Act that allows developers to use alternative payment mechanisms in applications that do not involve Apple.
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