Apple to permit third-party apps for iPhone users, signals potential boom for NFTs
After 15 years of global smartphone dominance through its walled-garden App Store, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) is finally opening up its iPhone and iPad devices to alternative app stores in a move that could bring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital currency to more than 1.2 billion devices.
A report by Bloomberg has revealed that senior engineers at the smartphone giant are working on a plan to eventually integrate third-party apps with iPhone users. The changes, which Apple has invested billions of dollars to oppose, come in response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. The Act requires tech firms with a market capitalization of at least $80 billion to allow their users to install third-party apps and for outside developers to have equal access to all the core features within apps.
While the law will take full effect in 2024, Bloomberg reports that Apple is already working on these integrations.
The integration would mean app developers could now dodge the hefty 30% cut Apple imposes on App Store apps. This cut has been the subject of heated debates in the tech world and even led to lawsuits, but Apple has managed to come out on top, at least until now.
The move is very important for the blockchain world and could usher in a new era for NFTs and digital asset payments. One new product developers can build now is a digital asset app store, says Alex Salnikov, the founder of NFT marketplace Rarible.
Apple to allow alternative app stores.
Building a crypto app store is a good candidate for a VC-backed startup with network effect and defensibility https://t.co/5f6hN3Rw16
— Alex Salnikov 🟡 Rarible (@insider0x) December 13, 2022
This could be an even bigger boom for NFTs. Apple’s current 30% cut has been a major deterrent to NFT marketplaces, causing most of them to withdraw from the App Store. For some like Magic Eden that have iOS apps, they only allow users to browse, not buy or sell.
In its October update, Apple further clamped down on the sector, revealing that it will not allow NFT apps to include buttons or calls to action that give users a way around the 30% commission.
The commission forced Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN ) to announce earlier this month that it would no longer support NFTs on its iOS app. In its criticism of the 30% commission, the exchange claimed it was akin to “Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email sent over open Internet protocols.”
Simply put, Apple introduced new policies to protect their profits at the expense of consumer investment in NFTs and developer innovation across the crypto ecosystem.
— Coinbase Wallet (@CoinbaseWallet) December 1, 2022
While it works to open up its app ecosystem, the company is reportedly undecided on whether it will allow third-party apps to use its own payment infrastructure. The firm has always forced developers and app publishers to use its own payment rails. If it were to allow third-party payment infrastructure, the firm would create an opportunity for app developers to build Bitcoin-powered payment rails for iPhone users.
While Apple opening up its devices to other app stores would be a net win for both developers and users, it could also pose security challenges. The risk will be even higher for digital asset enthusiasts, as the industry has a higher than average presence of scammers.
Just recently, security experts busted a North Korean hacking group that targeted victims through Somora, an app that claims to offer users a way to securely store digital assets. The app is loaded with malware that infiltrates users’ devices and cleans their crypto wallets.
The application is not available in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. The hackers rely on a link that redirects victims to the website hosting the app.
Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention Presentation, Buzzmint: Elevating NFTs
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