Apple’s App Store Policies Probed: U.S. Lawmakers Investigate Impact on Blockchain and NFTs

U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Jan Schakowsky have penned a formal letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, raising concerns over the tech giant’s App Store guidelines and their potential impact on emerging technologies like blockchain and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

The lawmakers are investigating whether Apple’s stringent guidelines might inadvertently stifle innovation and hinder the growth of cutting-edge technologies. The probe highlights a growing concern that these policies may limit American technological leadership in the rapidly evolving fields of blockchain and NFTs.

The letter to Apple’s CEO cites specific instances where the company’s policies have affected businesses. Coinbase’s accusation of being forced to remove NFT transfers from its Wallet app and Axie Infinity’s release of a limited version of its app are among the cases that have sparked this inquiry.

Critics contend that Apple is using the App Store to stifle competition and increase profits, despite the fact that the corporation defends its restrictions by claiming they are a way to improve security via the use of a “walled garden” approach. The investigation being conducted by the parliamentarians places an emphasis on the need of openness and accountability, with the end goal of levelling the playing field inside the business.

This is not the first time Apple’s App Store policies have come under scrutiny. Previous concerns related to TikTok and other China-originating apps have also been raised. The current probe reflects broader apprehensions about the potential negative consequences of Apple’s policies on the U.S.’s standing in emerging technologies.

The official investigation into Apple’s App Store policy marks a watershed point in the continuing debate about digital titans’ roles and responsibilities. The findings of this research, which focuses on blockchain and NFTs, might create a precedent for the development and regulation of future technologies.

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Apple’s New Guidelines Permit NFTs But There’s a Caveat

American multinational tech giant, Apple Inc, the owner of the App Store, one of the largest application hosting platforms in the world has updated its guidelines to include an accommodation for its hosted apps to integrate Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).


While this may come as very big news considering the exposure the new allowance will grant to developers and apps to integrate NFTs, Apple’s guidelines come with some form of limitations. The updated guideline reads;

“Apps may use in-app purchase to sell and sell services related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), such as minting, listing, and transferring. Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app. Apps may allow users to browse NFT collections owned by others, provided that the apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.”

The update can be said to be positive and negative as the functionalities are generally limited which may not augur well for developers to maximize the traffic generated from the app.

NFTs as an offshoot of blockchain technology is going mainstream and the number of tech giants, particularly those in the social media space, supporting its growth has continued to grow over the past year. While Reddit has launched its own NFT collection, Twitter started permitting NFT owners to feature NFTs as their profile pictures earlier in the year.

While these moves help publicize the potential inherent in the technology, Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook launched support for NFTs across some of its applications including Instagram. 

With most of these applications running on the App Store, the new Apple allowance will notably help advance their embrace, and developers can count this as a win, despite the limitations applicable.

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Apple to Permit Developers to Host NFT-Based Apps on App Store

American multinational tech giant Apple Inc is coming to terms and is billed to allow Web3.0 startups to sell their Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) through its App Store.


With the new policy, marketplaces like OpenSea, LooksRare, and Magic Eden, amongst others, can offer their hosted digital collectables for sale through the Apple Pay gateway.

While it is no news that the broader crypto ecosystem and the NFT offshoot have experienced dwindling patronage over the past year with the advent of the crypto winter, the latest allowance from Apple may help stir some resurgence in the market.

Prior to this time, the privacy features of Apple have made NFT developers shun the App Store as a gateway to market their products. While NFT and crypto-related applications are permitted, the allowances were very slim.

According to a report by The Information, NFT startups have shunned Apple partly because of the 30% charges it levies on every transaction. Magic Eden co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Sidney Zhang reiterated this in an interview.

With the new allowance, developers are left to choose between boycotting the tech giant’s systems because of the high fees or embracing the opportunity based on its extensive market reach. 

The Web3.0 ecosystem is expanding at a prolific rate, and innovators in the space are doing all they can to position their businesses to capture the market growth. Investors are also pulling in the weight to aid the evolution of Web3.0 protocols to accelerate their product and service offerings through consistent funding.

The contributions from tech giants like Apple will help change the paradigm for all players in the space as the company, alongside Google, has dominated the Stores through which startups can host their mobile applications. In the age where many P2E games are being developed, these provisions from Apple will go a long way to offer flexibility for developers who embrace the terms.

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Coinbase regains #1 position on Apple App Store as Crypto​.com jumps to third

Cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and are now two of the most downloaded apps for the U.S. Apple App Store, topping the charts at first and third place, respectively.

According to the Top Charts list on the Apple App Store, Coinbase has regained its position as the most popular app in the United States ahead of TikTok. However,’s app has surged in number of downloads today to jump ahead of both YouTube and Instagram, moving from 5th to 3rd position in a matter of hours. Robinhood’s app, which has previously held positions in the top ten, sits at #48 under Walmart.

First listed on the app store in 2014, Coinbase has previously been the most popular download in the U.S. in both 2017 and in May 2021. Notably, the description of the trading app now lists Shiba Inu (SHIB) following Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) — the price of the dog-themed token has surged significantly in the last year, creating new crypto billionaires.’s rising popularity could be the result of the exchange releasing an ad campaign featuring actor Matt Damon. The “fortune favors the brave” ad, which went live earlier today, is aimed at reaching a global audience of potential crypto users and investors. According to data from analytics site SensorTower, the exchange’s app had roughly 600,000 downloads in September.

Related: Injecting Apple-like ‘quality-control’ into DeFi is what we need

The number of downloads for a company’s app can be an indicator of market interest. Facebook, currently under scrutiny following the release of documents showing that the company was not doing what it claimed in regard to removing hate speech and posts encouraging violence, now sits as the 8th most popular iOS app in the U.S. under Snapchat.