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Congress Seeks Clarity on Apple’s App Store Policies and Impact on NFTs and Blockchain

 |  August 2, 2023

U.S. lawmakers are reaching out to Apple with regard to its recently unveiled App Store guidelines as questions loom over how these guidelines may limit innovation in the burgeoning non-fungible token (NFT) and blockchain realm.

“It is essential that Congress fully understand the App Store Guidelines and the extent these guidelines limit innovation and American technology leadership,” says Republican Gus Bilirakis, of the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce. His remarks were made in a letter of inquiry sent out to Apple CEO Tim Cook, jointly penned with Democrat Jan Schakowsky, which seeks clarity for Apple’s policies and how they affect distributed ledger technology and NFTs.

The call is in response to accusations from NFT and blockchain-related enterprises of hindered operations on Apple’s store as a result of the company’s guidelines. Reportedly, many NFT firms have been forced to launch a ‘lite’ version of their apps for the U.S. market, just to remain compliant. Coinbase, for example, said in December 2022 that Apple had demanded it remove NFT transfers from the Coinbase Wallet app.

Read more: Appeals Court Rules Apple Cannot Ban Links To Outside App Store Payments

“Apple’s proprietary in-app purchase system does not support crypto so we couldn’t comply even if we tried,” stated Coinbase in regards to its refusal of Apple’s demand.

The inquiry goes on to ask 21 questions to Apple, such as Apple’s admittance policies, the review process, whether there are checks for foreign ownership, and the company’s stance on sideloading. Of particular interest are questions concerning Apple’s interest in distributed ledger technologies and if there’s plans to use the secure enclave for its blockchain-related applications.

Bilirakis notes, “Apple’s support of innovative new technologies such as blockchains, NFTs, and other distributed ledger technologies could solidify American leadership of these technologies.”

Apple has been given until August 14 to respond to the inquiry, amidst further scrutiny of their practices. It’s expected that Apple will emphasize the risks surrounding decentralized technologies, such as rug pulls and other crimes, in their defense. Regardless, the letter sends a strong signal of the issues at hand and of the importance of rectifying such problems. The reaction from Apple will be essential to the current understanding of innovation from both a technological and legislative standpoint.

Source: Applain Sider