Apple Faces Investigation Over Cryptocurrency and NFT Policies in App Store

Apple Faces Investigation Over Cryptocurrency and NFT Policies in App Store

Apple Inc. is once again in the spotlight due to its app store practices, specifically relating to the growing sectors of cryptocurrency trading and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Coingraph News, an international news media company, has reported that House Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Jan Schakowsky have initiated an inquiry by sending a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook. They are seeking information about the company’s App Store policies and their potential impact on the advancement of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. Additionally, Coingraph News, citing Sky News as its source, recently reported that British developers have sued Apple over App Store fees, with the amount of the claim totaling $1 billion.

The Representatives express concerns that Apple may be utilizing its guidelines to prioritize its own financial gain at the expense of app functionality in blockchain, NFTs, and other blockchain-related domains, Coingraph News reports. Notably, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has accused Apple of pressuring them to remove NFT transfers from their iOS wallet app, while multiple NFT companies have echoed similar claims, stating that Apple compelled them to release lite versions of their applications.

These individual incidents give rise to broader apprehensions regarding how Apple’s app store policies could impede American leadership in emerging technologies like blockchain and other distributed ledger systems. Bilirakis and Schakowsky have presented Apple with a series of 21 questions, with a deadline set for August 14th, 2023, to better understand the status of “sideloading” and the company’s criteria for app admission.

The congressional investigation has been positively received by Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council, who views it as a clear indication that the cryptocurrency industry is not a matter of partisan politics. Similarly, Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, questions whether the arbitrary enforcement of a single company’s App Store policies truly serves the best interests of Americans. These ongoing discussions emphasize the need to reassess the approach to digital currencies and the underlying technologies supporting them.

The investigation will focus on several key aspects of Apple’s App Store policies, including:

  1. App Approval Process: Regulators will examine whether Apple applies inconsistent standards in approving cryptocurrency and NFT-related applications, leading to accusations of favoritism or anti-competitive behavior.
  2. Access to Payment Services: The inquiry will investigate allegations that Apple forces developers to use its proprietary in-app payment system, which charges a substantial commission on transactions, potentially limiting competition and driving up costs for consumers.
  3. Removal of Apps: Instances of Apple removing cryptocurrency and NFT applications from the App Store without clear or consistent justifications will be scrutinized to determine if this negatively impacts competition.

Apple has defended its policies in the past, asserting that they are designed to ensure user safety and protect customers from potential fraud or scams prevalent in the crypto space. The company claims to review and update its guidelines regularly to address the evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

The investigation could have significant implications for Apple’s future policies and its position within the digital asset ecosystem. Depending on the findings, the FTC and state attorneys general may recommend changes to App Store guidelines, impose fines, or initiate legal proceedings against the tech giant.

As the investigation unfolds, industry participants and stakeholders eagerly await the outcome, hoping for a more level playing field that fosters innovation and growth in the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

To Top

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This