- US lawmakers voice concerns that Apple’s App Store policies could hinder the growth of the cryptocurrency and Web3 sector.
- Companies like Coinbase and Axie Infinity have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with Apple’s guidelines, which they say limit their ability to innovate.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis and Representative Jan Schakowsky recently brought to light potential ramifications of Apple’s App Store policies on the advancement of the cryptocurrency industry. In a detailed correspondence to Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, these lawmakers raised the alarm on how Apple’s guidelines might hamper the growth of innovative technologies, including blockchains, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and other decentralized solutions.
Dampening Innovation or Fair Play?
These two prominent voices, leading the bipartisan House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce, are putting the spotlight on the impact of App Store rules on the Web3 industry. They argue that Apple’s policies could be used to stifle competition, especially for Web3 app developers who capitalize on cryptocurrency transactions and NFT sales.
Access to Apple’s App Store, given its colossal user base, is crucial for these developers. But the legislators underscored Apple’s policy that commands a 30% commission on gas fees for NFT transactions, causing significant outcry.
Large-scale players in the crypto arena such as Coinbase and Axie Infinity have expressed their disapproval of these policies. For instance, Apple’s guidelines led Coinbase to halt NFT transfers for iOS wallet users last year, clearly restricting the scope of the app’s functionalities. Similarly, Axie Infinity had to curtail its NFT functionalities to stay within Apple’s rules, thereby limiting the gaming experience for iOS users.
These instances have prompted the question: is Apple wielding its App Store policies to edge out competitors? Allegations abound that the tech giant is implementing arbitrary restrictions, often stunting app improvements that would be beneficial for users.
In a quest for transparency, the legislators have sought additional information from Apple about its App Store policy enforcement and app review processes. The company has until August 14 to provide a comprehensive response.
The relationship between Apple and blockchain-related apps has experienced significant fluctuations. Although Apple showed acceptance of Web3 applications, like when it incorporated Axie Infinity into the App Store, apprehensions persist regarding the company’s overall influence on the crypto industry.
In fact, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has been vocal about his concerns, suggesting that Apple is reining in innovation in the crypto-enabled devices domain. This belief stems from his experiences where he found Apple’s policies to be an obstacle to adding innovative features to Coinbase’s app.
These unfolding events create a complex picture of the intersection of tech giants and the burgeoning world of crypto innovation. It underscores the urgent need for a clearer understanding and possibly, a reevaluation of Apple’s policies vis-a-vis the crypto industry. The outcome of this legislative scrutiny could potentially shape the future trajectory of blockchain and cryptocurrency applications.