Apple Blocks NFT Access On Its App Store, Stalls Update On Gnosis Safe Wallet

Apple’s notorious restrictions on the Apple App Store have evolved into a new issue. According to Lukas Schor (a product developer at Gnosis Safe), Apple stopped an update of its mobile app from the iOS App Store. The reason was that the app allowed users to access “previously purchased digital material” such as NFTs purchased on a platform other than the App Store.

Apple has blocked the release of @gnosissafe’s mobile app, because it contains NFTs. After two weeks of back and forth, I decided that it was time to speak publicly about the issue to raise awareness. After 2 weeks of back-and-forth, I felt that we needed to talk publicly about this issue in order to raise awareness.

Apple’s policies and guidelines on digital content dictate that the prohibition is enforced. The Gnosis Safe mobile application has provided the service in an earlier update. This explains the delay in the policy review. Schor clarified the matter in a subsequent tweet, stating that their most recent update to their app was to enable connections via Ledger Nano X – a hardware crypto wallet – and that users have been displaying NFTs for many months before Apple’s communication.

This update added a new Bluetooth connection to connect a Ledger nano X via Bluetooth to our app. It had nothing to do whatsoever with NFTs. Since many months, our app has been displaying NFTs owned by users. We answered all questions and explained our NFT feature.

Schor’s correspondence to Apple shows that apps published on Apple’s ecosystem for iOS/iPadOS as well as MacOS cannot give access to NFTs or NFT-related services. This is true even if the app was purchased before a crypto wallet like Gnosis Safe had these digital assets stored, secured, and protected. There is no way to purchase a digital asset or digital content (as NFTs are classified according to Apple’s policy language), from outside the Apple ecosystem. This means that you must use integrated payment methods approved and authorized by Apple.

Apple told Gnosis Safe that if you don’t want to use in-app purchases, it would be a good idea to update your app so it doesn’t access any previously purchased digital content.

CryptoDaily previously covered the impact of Apple’s AppStore policies on crypto and blockchain. It also cited details of the recent lawsuit involving Epic Games and Gnosis Safe. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a permanent order which stated that Apple would no longer be permitted to ban developers (such as Epic Games or Gnosis Safe), from creating links or any other communications that would lead users outside of Apple’s in-app purchasing environment.

The Court finds that Apple’s antisteering provisions conceal critical information and illegally restrict consumer choice. Rogers stated that anti-steering provisions, when combined with Apple’s antitrust violations in progress, are anticompetitive. A nationwide remedy is needed to remove them.

Apple charges app publishers a commission of 15% to 30% on all in-app transactions. This applies to any transaction made using in-app items, services, or in the exchange for digital goods. This policy may have a number of implications on how NFTs or other crypto services might be adopted in an ecosystem as popular as Apple’s.

Apple’s App store review guidelines, Section 3.2.1, specifically states that gifts that are connected to or associated with the receipt of digital content or services at any time must use in-app purchases (vii). It also mentions that apps that are used for financial trading, investing or money management should only be submitted by the financial institution providing such services.

The same section 3.1.5 (Cryptocurrencies), however, states that “i) Wallets can facilitate virtual currency storage, provided that they are offered to developers enrolled as organizations,” and that non-fungible tokens, (NFTs), may or may not qualify as ‘virtual currencies” given that NFTs could be considered digital assets that hold value determined by both the NFT market as well as the crypto market.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. This article is not intended to be used for legal, tax, financial, investment, or any other advice. These opinions are solely the author’s and do not reflect CryptoDaily’s views on the subject.

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