United States House Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Jan Schakowsky have raised serious concerns about Apple’s App Store policies potentially hindering the growth of the cryptocurrency sector. In a letter addressed to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, the representatives warned that the company’s current guidelines may undermine US leadership in emerging technologies, particularly in the realm of blockchains, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and other forms of distributed ledger technology.
A Threat to US Leadership in Emerging Technologies:
As Chairman and Ranking Member of the bipartisan House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce, Bilirakis and Schakowsky pointed out that Apple’s App Store rules could be leveraged for undue competitive advantage, negatively affecting the cryptocurrency industry. The letter highlighted the challenges faced by Web3 games and app developers, many of whom rely on cryptocurrency integrations and NFT sales for monetization.
Apple’s 30% Commission on Gas Fees:
The lawmakers brought attention to Apple’s policy mandating a 30% commission on gas fees associated with NFT transactions. This commission could have significant implications for Web3 developers and users, considering the vast user base of iOS devices and the importance of having apps listed on the App Store.
Tech Giants Under Fire:
Companies like Coinbase and Axie Infinity have already expressed their discontent with Apple’s NFT policies. In response to Apple’s guidelines, Coinbase suspended NFT transfers for its iOS wallet users, while Axie Infinity had to scale back NFT functionalities on its iOS version to comply with the rules. These actions led to a partial user experience for iOS users, raising concerns about Apple’s impact on the industry.
Allegations of Competitive Advantage:
The representatives highlighted concerns that Apple’s App Store policies are being perceived as tools used against competitors. Critics have accused the company of imposing inconsistent restrictions and hindering app enhancements that could benefit users and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.
Seeking Clarity and Accountability:
In an effort to gain clarity on the matter, lawmakers have requested additional information from Apple about its App Store policies and their enforcement. They have also inquired about the company’s app review mechanisms to better understand the reasoning behind the current guidelines.
Apple’s Evolving Web3 App Policies:
Apple’s relationship with blockchain-related apps has undergone changes over time. While there were prior reservations about hosting Web3 applications for iOS, the inclusion of Axie Infinity in the App Store in May marked a significant milestone. Notably, users can now use Apple Pay through their regular credit or debit cards to acquire in-app NFTs, eliminating the need to link a separate cryptocurrency wallet.
As the deadline for Apple’s response approaches, the concerns expressed by US House Representatives Bilirakis and Schakowsky shed light on the potential impact of App Store policies on the cryptocurrency industry. While the company seems to be warming up to Web3 applications, there are lingering worries about its overall influence in the sector. The cryptocurrency community eagerly awaits Apple’s response, hoping for a resolution that supports innovation and growth in emerging technologies.