Apple’s absurd new crypto rules reveal how out of touch it has become
Giant companies like Apple have made a fortune by centralizing power and profits and expanding their product and service network to be a part of people’s lives in as many ways as they can. Until recently, however, Apple had also shown an ability to tunnel-focus its efforts to stay relevant and up-to-date with what consumers wanted, what mattered to them and what they needed most from the tech giants they depend on. It seems this isn’t strictly true anymore, and that’s a real shame.
In its updated App Store guidelines unveiled on October 24, Apple announced that crypto exchange applications “may facilitate transactions or transfers of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange” only “in countries or regions where the app has the appropriate licensing and permissions to provide a cryptocurrency exchange.”
In addition, any additional payments necessary to unlock additional features will need to be made with “in-app purchase currencies,” since developer apps “may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency wallets.”
This is aimed at ensuring “a safe experience for users” and a chance for developers “to succeed,” Apple claims, but I disagree. It’s clear to see that this is just another clever trick Apple uses to keep all the profits they can make; a particularly interesting move as it relates to nonfungible token (NFT) technology and Web3 games, which are gaining in popularity.
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In a classic Apple move, the tech giant is trying to control the “walled garden” it has spent decades building around its technology to avoid being challenged “over what software can land on iPhones and Macs and what that software can do”.
However, cracks in the iron fence may begin to show.
In May, the European Commission “accused Apple of abusing its payments dominance” regarding Apple Pay practices, as it remains the only contactless option available for mobile payments on iPhone and iPad devices. And since a 30% usage fee applies to any app that uses the App Store’s in-app purchase feature, Apple is no stranger to wanting to keep money in its ecosystem and take a cut of anything that touches its expensive flagship products.
But when it comes to crypto technology and related Web3 products, they are decentralized, meaning Apple has no real way to take a cut out of them.
To me, the updated App Store guidelines look like a desperate attempt to threaten competitors and protect their monopoly. After all, some bigger cracks may appear, and Apple may be more concerned than it probably wants you to know.
As Cointelegraph recently reported, tech talent is increasingly migrating to Web3 as tech giants like Apple, Google, and Netflix undergo layoffs and hiring freezes. Data looking at the impact of the current economic downturn tells us that 700 tech startups have experienced layoffs over the past year, “affecting at least 93,519 employees globally,” in a move that resulted in an “overwhelming amount of talent flowing into early phase”. Web3 companies.”
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As Web3 looms, is Apple doomed? Of course not. Although it’s no longer the world’s most valuable company (Saudi Aramco overtook it in market cap in May), the iPhone maker remains a colossal presence in all of our daily lives — and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
What it may need to do is rethink its attitude to how it should work with the technologies of the future. As angel investor Daniel Mason pointed out on Twitter, a key part of the updated App Store guidelines is that Apple “demonstrates a desire to work with crypto apps (especially gaming), but on their terms,” which is an extremely Apple-like position.
Today Apple released new rules for crypto apps (especially web3 games) in the App Store.
Apple’s stance on NFT, crypto and payments will have a massive effect on the industry.
A with critical points, my takeaways and winners/losers based on first reading:
— Daniel Mason (@dgmason) 24 October 2022
But as long as it counters major crypto and NFT exchanges like OpenSea and Magic Eden, payment platforms like Moonpay and “anyone trying to compete with them for either primary or secondary NFT purchases,” which it seems prepared to do, Apple may just be prolonging a battle that Web3 is destined to win.
Daniele Servadei is co-founder and CEO of Sellix, an e-commerce platform based in Italy.
This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.