Applications and Use Cases

What Are Apple's Plans for NFTs?

April 18, 2022

Industry analysts like this question, and there is a lot of fodder for discussion. On the one hand, Apple seems determined to limit the penetration of NFTs on the App Store in an effort to protect users against fraud. While the company did allow NFT marketplace OpenSea  to offer an app in the App Store – as well as a few others -- it’s only for browsing, and not buying and selling, which leaves developers wondering, according to Tech Crunch’s Sarah Perez.

“The lack of official guidelines around NFTs on iOS has made it hard for app developers to know where the line is in terms of what’s permitted and what’s not,” she wrote.

The company recently removed the mobile-native NFT marketplace app Sticky claiming it was misleading to use the word “NFT” for digital collectibles than weren’t minted to a public blockchain. Sticky was essentially a proprietary centralized ledger system run by Sticky.

On the other hand, Apple likes to make money. Tech Crunch’s Lucas Matney recently noted that gaming is the most popular vertical in the App Store, and it earns Apple tens of billions in revenue each year.

“The prospect of gaming companies embracing NFTs in a major way over the next decade seems increasingly likely, and losing out on that revenue would be destructive to Apple’s hold on in-app payments in mobile gaming,” wrote Matney.

So might we see, sometime down the road, Apple finding a way to balance its own IAP in-app payments system with NFTs and blockchain assets. 

“One thing that is pretty clear is that if Apple creates a specific carve-out for NFTs in its own App Store rules, it’s going to be on its own terms,” Matney wrote.  “It could take a number of different paths; I could see a world where Apple could only allow certain assets on certain blockchains or even build out its own blockchain. But Apple’s path toward controlling the user experience will most likely rely on Apple taking a direct hand in crafting its own smart contracts for NFTs, which developers might be forced to use in order to stay compliant with App Store rules.”

For more information about the future of blockchain, plan on attending The Blockchain Event from June 21 - 24, 2022 as part of the #TECHSUPERSHOW at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Blockchain Event helps decision-makers, technologists, and developers understand the value of blockchain to their businesses regardless of industry.

Edited by Erik Linask

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