Apple may soon allow users to install iOS apps from external sources, thanks to new EU regulations. By doing so, the tech giant would also open up its ecosystem to the benefit of crypto and NFTs.
Apple and the installation of new external apps to open up to crypto and NFTs
Apple is reportedly planning to allow iOS apps to be installed from external sources, thanks to new EU regulations. If so, developers could build apps for NFTs and expand the ability to make crypto payments through iPhones and iPads.
New story: Apple is preparing to allow alternative app stores and side-loading on iOS — along with a slew of other changes to make the iPhone more open — in response to new European Union requirements arriving in 2024. https://t.co/hZpXrKdHGj
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) December 13, 2022
Specifically, Apple has reportedly decided to open up its ecosystem due to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which requires tech companies to fully comply with restrictions by 2024.
The tech giant’s new changes would begin in Europe and then expand to other territories where similar regulations exist. Not only that, the timing of the introduction of such features may come along with the iOS 17 software update, which is expected to be launched next fall according to the typical annual release schedule.
The ability to install third-party apps could also involve the inclusion of a payment infrastructure other than Apple’s traditional one. That is why it will soon be revealed whether cryptocurrencies can also be used through the tech giant, something that is currently unthinkable.
Apple and the current 30% fee on NFT transactions
Indeed, it has been since last September that Apple introduced the possibility for developers to sell their NFTs through its App Store, within games and apps. However, the tech giant itself has forced such developers to pay a 30% fee on every NFT transaction.
This is why we speak of a closed ecosystem when referring to Apple. It is likely that the tech giant wanted to experiment with the Non-Fungible Token sector, albeit keeping its strict rules, to the detriment of what is implied by Web3 and decentralization.
And in fact, many startups accused Apple of taking advantage of its market dominance, claiming that it was impossible for them to pay such fees just to use the App Store.
Hence, to meet the needs of its developer customers, Apple has since reduced the commission to 15% only for companies billing under $1 million.
Of course, those remain exorbitant figures when considering that the average transaction cost is around 2% and 3% in fees. And indeed, on Apple devices, companies such as OpenSea and Magic Eden marketplaces only allow users to browse NFTs, not buy or sell them through the app.
Even Coinbase discontinues its NFT functionality on Apple devices
In October, the group of startups refusing to pay fees on NFTs in the Apple ecosystem was joined by Coinbase Wallet iOS, which, in an update to the app, disabled the NFT functionality.
This happened precisely because it is impossible to meet Apple’s demands, even from one of the most popular names in the crypto world.
And indeed, one of the alternative solutions for Coinbase Wallet iOS users is to move their NFTs to the decentralized wallets of MetaMask or Trust Wallet.
In this way, Coinbase is again aligning itself with what is the essential workings of NFTs and blockchain, moving away from Apple’s closed ecosystem.
General complaints about Apple’s policies
The news of Apple’s 30% fees has stirred up a real cauldron among major players in the crypto and non-crypto worlds, who have publicly denounced such a policy of the tech giant.
And indeed, Dan Finlay, co-founder of MetaMask and a former Apple employee, had tweeted the following:
Oh I'll absolutely stand in solidarity here, I assume MM and every other wallet is next. I'm ready to dump the Apple ecosystem. The 30% tax is an abuse of monopoly. @tim_cook has donned the Big Brother screen. https://t.co/tzcA0Ol658
— Dan Finlay 🦊💙 (@danfinlay) December 1, 2022
In addition, the new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, also complained on his social network. Here is the tweet:
Did you know Apple puts a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through their App Store? https://t.co/LGkPZ4EYcz
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
Musk recently outlined his new plans for doing business with Twitter, with the goal of making the social network “an app for everything,” including crypto.