Apple’s long-running feud with developers over its hefty cut on the App Store has spilled to the non-fungible token (NFT) sector, with many NFT marketplaces now up in arms over the 30% cut.
Despite the criticism and even antitrust lawsuits, the tech giant has held onto its 30% fee for in-app purchases on the App Store. NFT companies with apps on the App Store have also had to adhere to the same cut, and many find the fee unsustainable.
Apple has told startups it must sell NFTs through in-app purchases, forcing many startups to limit functionality in apps to dodge fees up to 30% of the transaction, even when the startups are only facilitating the trades. My latest for @theinformation https://t.co/2pKamhLmCp
— Aidan Ryan (@aidanfitzryan) September 23, 2022
Speaking to The Information, Sidney Zhang, the cofounder of Solana-based NFT marketplace Magic Eden criticized the cut, saying that it’s stifling innovation. He claims that his marketplace has withdrawn its NFT trading service from the App Store after learning of the policy, and even though Apple offered to slash the fee to 15%, Magic Eden will not be returning to the platform.
Zhang isn’t alone in his criticism of the tech giant’s business model. Blockchain startup Pocket Network founder Arthur Sabintsev told the outlet that the policy “makes it really hard to price [the NFT] because you have to program all these values in dynamically.”
“It feels like the position is that Apple doesn’t really want [App Store] users to be able to purchase or sell NFTs. [It’s] almost impossible because it’s fixed subscriptions or fixed prices,” Alexei Falin, the CEO of Rarible, one of the largest NFT marketplaces globally, added.
It’s not just with the fees that Apple is stifling NFT innovation, Falin added. He revealed that it took the company several months to admit Rarible into the App Store, a process that took Google Play Store a few days.
Now Apple is killing all NFT app businesses it can’t tax, crushing another nascent technology that could rival its grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service. Apple must be stopped. https://t.co/4KChp6jtFZ
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 23, 2022
The steep cut on in-app NFT sales has been criticized beyond the digital asset industry, with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney terming it a “grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.” Sweeney went up against Apple in court last year after Apple took down Fortnite from the App Store, but the tech giant ended up winning.
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