Apple wants to allow NFT sales in Apps but with 30% commission fees

    27 Sep 2022

    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.

    In a report from The Information 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 to dodge those 30% fees – even though 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?”

    NFT application developers and others have balked at a decision by tech giant Apple to impose a 30% commission on NFTs sold through apps on its marketplace, effectively putting NFT purchases in the same boat as regular in-app purchases.

    Tech blogger Florian Mueller called Apple’s “app tax” on NFT sales “abusive but consistent,” while Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted that Apple is “crushing” another nascent technology that “could rival its grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.”

    Sweeney previously took a neutral stance around NFTs, but Epic has since shown an attitude that continues to be developer-first. 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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