'Grotesquely overpriced' — Apple's App Store wants 30% cut on NFT sales

Non-fungible token (NFT) app developers and others have balked at a decision by tech giant Apple to impose a 30% commission on NFTs sold through apps on its marketplace, effectively putting NFT purchases in the same boat as regular in-app purchases.

According to a Friday report from The Information, the smartphone company is now allowing NFTs to be bought and sold through apps listed on its marketplace but imposes its standard commission on in-app purchases of 30% — similar to that imposed by Android’s app store Google Play.

The commission rate has however been slammed by some for being “grotesquely overpriced” — particularly when compared to standard NFT marketplace commissions, which are around 2.5%.

Tech blogger Florian Mueller called Apple’s “app tax” on NFT sales “abusive but consistent,” while Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted that Apple is “crushing” another nascent technology that “could rival its grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.”

The report noted that popular Solana (SOL) NFT market Magic Eden withdrew its service from the App Store after learning of the policy, even after Apple offered to lower its commission to 15%, though the app continues to be listed on the app store at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, other NFT marketplaces on the App Store have reportedly limited functionality due to the hefty commissions. There is also the added challenge of being forced to conduct transactions in U.S. dollars rather than cryptocurrency, which could prove risky given the volatility of cryptocurrency markets.

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Others have seen the positive side of Apple’s NFT acceptance. Gabriel Leydon CEO of Web3 game developer Limit Break said the move “could put an ETH wallet in every single mobile game onboarding 1B+ players!” adding he would “HAPPILY give Apple a 30% cut of a free NFT.”

It’s not the first time companies have battled with Apple regarding its commissions, Epic Games has filed legal proceedings after its flagship game Fortnite was delisted from the App Store in Aug. 2020 after the publisher attempted to sell in-game purchases which skirted Apple’s fees.

NFT marketplace apps on the app store currently include OpenSea, Rarible, Magic Eden and marketplaces in crypto trading apps include Binance, Crypto.com and Coinbase Wallet.

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