After updating its App Store Review Guidelines last month to mention NFTs for the first time, the world’s most valuable company is flexing its muscles.
Apple has blocked Coinbase Wallet’s latest release of its iOS app, reportedly claiming that the transaction fees required to transfer NFTs need to go through the iPhone maker’s In-App Purchase system.
Apple takes a 30% cut of all payments made through its platform and as such is treating the gas fees required to send NFTs in the same way it does purchases of skins or other upgrades in games.
“For anyone who understands how NFTs and blockchains work, this is clearly not possible,” Coinbase Wallet posted. “Apple’s proprietary In-App Purchase system does not support crypto so we couldn’t comply “even if we tried.”
The crypto community seems bemused by the move. “Sorry what lmao,” tweeted Cobie, a prominent crypto influencer, in response to the news.
Apple has long opted to maintain a high degree of control over how its products are used, citing performance concerns. In contrast to Google’s Android mobile operating system, iOS is closed-source. Apple’s App Store is also notorious for curating the apps it allows on its marketplace.
While Apple’s Oct. 24 update to its App Store’s guidelines explicitly allowed apps which enabled NFT purchases, uncertainty remained about how the company would interpret its own rules. The move to block Coinbase Wallet is a sign that Apple may not interpret its guidelines in a way that’s compatible with basic blockchain technology.
Not everyone was up in arms over the announcement. Chris Maddern, co-founder and CEO of the NFT-focused Floor app, actually sees Apple’s move as a sign of progress.
Still, others are pushing for crypto to take its fate into its own hands. The creators of the Solana blockchain announced a mobile phone in June — in light of Coinbase’s announcement, some are calling Solana’s move prescient.
“Solana’s decision to build a phone is looking better and better everyday,” tweeted Armani Ferrante, the founder of Coral, a project which makes tools for NFTs.