Apple to Add Flexibility for App Developers, Including in Web3

Apple Web3 policy may be affected if it allows third-party app stores on the iPhone

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Robson90/Shutterstock.com modified by Blockworks

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Apple Inc. reportedly plans to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads next year in response to looming regulatory changes in the European Union. 

The move, reported by Bloomberg, would let iOS users download third-party software to their devices, bypassing Apple’s up-to-30% commission on in-app purchases — a policy that also affected NFT-related apps.

In September, the tech giant enabled developers of current apps to sell non-fungible tokens in-app and new apps to trade NFTs within them. 

Those developers who made over $1 million annually through the ‌App Store‌ were subject to Apple taking a 30% cut, while developers making less than that paide 15%. Additionally, Apple made it so that NFT-related transactions on an iPhone or iPad could only be made in US dollars and not cryptocurrency.

In less than a month, Apple ended up backtracking on its Web3 policy and restricting content and functions associated with license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency wallets. NFT-related functions in-app, such as sales, mints, listings or transfers are still allowed.

The new shift for Apple to support external apps from third-party marketplaces may benefit Web3 developers and expand the use of NFT-related applications and mobile crypto payments. 

Apple would be complying with Europe Union’s (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA), an antitrust legislation approved by the EU parliament in July. While the new law takes effect in early 2023, companies aren’t required to fully comply until 2024. 

The company still has to decide whether to allow third-party developers to use their own payments infrastructure or make them use Apple’s payments setup, per Bloomberg.

Once in effect, the policy change would likely be featured in Apple’s iOS 17 software update, scheduled for next fall.


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