Apple introduces additional tax on NFT trading


The American technology company Apple explained its App Store rules regarding non-fungible tokens (NFT) and cryptocurrency exchanges, noting that for the first time it systematized special rules for NFT.

The new rules clarify how NFT purchases will be taxed and what they can and cannot be used for, and also clarify the rules regarding when a crypto exchange application can be added to the internal App Store.

In the October 24 update, a wording was added to the App Store recommendations that allows to buy NFTs in the app, but at the same time strictly prohibits the use of any NFTs purchased elsewhere.

In addition, applications are allowed to use in-app purchases to "sell and offer services" related to NFT, such as "issue, listing and transfer".

However, the tech giant appears to be doubling down on its "Apple tax" on NFT, which combines in-app NFT purchases with its standard 30% commission rate for all purchases, making sure that all NFT purchases are conducted in-app.

Apps are not allowed to post "buttons, external links, or other calls to action" that may give users the opportunity to bypass the app store commission when purchasing NFT. It is also prohibited for applications to use mechanisms "such as [...] QR codes, cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency wallets" that can be used to unlock content or functions in the application. I.e., all transactions must pass strictly through the application and be subject to commission.

The rules come into force despite the fact that the company has been criticized for applying a 30% commission on NFT sales carried out through NFT trading platform applications such as OpenSea or Magic Eden, a move that has been noted as "grotesquely inflated" compared to an average commission of 2.5% on NFT purchases.

The market reaction was not long in coming. Magic Eden said it removed its app from the App Store after learning about Apple's new policy, and other NFT trading platforms have reduced the functionality of their apps, and users can now only view their own NFTs.

Apple's guidelines also exclude the use of cryptocurrency for in-app purchases, allowing purchases exclusively in fiat currency using debit or credit cards.

The new rules do not change Apple's existing policy regarding cryptocurrency trading applications, put forward by exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase, where transactions are not subject to a 30 percent "Apple tax".

However, a new wording has been added to clarify that cryptocurrency exchange applications can only offer services in their application in "countries or regions where the application has the appropriate licenses and permissions to provide cryptocurrency exchange."

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