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Coinbase stops NFT transfers on it IOS wallet apps

d63456c0-9101-46e9-8a44-a4e0db392b9f

Written by

Charles Beamon
Published on

December 2, 2022


Key points: 

  • Coinbase’s Wallet iOS app no ​​longer supports NFT transactions, as Apple introduced strict new guidelines for NFTs in October.
  • While Apple’s mobile app stores don’t ban NFTs outright, they require a hefty 30% tax on each transaction. If developers fail to meet this requirement, their apps will be banned from the store.
  • Apple wants to charge a 30% fee on all gas fees paid for NFT transfers made through the wallet app, which Coinbase said is "impossible."
  • Solana's Saga Phone, a Web3-native mobile device still in development that would have no such restrictions. 

"As you may have noticed, you can no longer send NFTs on Coinbase Wallet iOS. This is because Apple blocked our last app version before we disabled the feature," the Coinbase Wallet account said on Twitter on Thursday.

While Apple’s mobile app stores don’t ban NFTs outright, they require a hefty 30% tax on each transaction. If developers fail to meet this requirement, their apps will be banned from the store.

According to Coinbase, Apple wants to charge a 30% fee on all gas fees (i.e., transaction fees on the Ethereum network) paid for NFT transfers made through the wallet app, which Coinbase said is "impossible."

Coinbase Tweet

“To anyone who understands how NFTs and blockchains work, this is clearly impossible,” Coinbase said. "Apple's proprietary in-app purchase system doesn't support encryption, so we couldn't comply even if we tried."

Every time a user makes a transaction on the Ethereum network, even just transferring an asset such as an NFT to another wallet, the user must pay a fee, called gas. These fees are necessary for the network to function. But they are more complex than fixed fees and cannot be controlled by a single entity.

Gas prices—measured in Gwei, but paid in ETH—vary based on Ethereum network traffic and the efficiency of smart contract code. And more advanced users can choose to pay more to get their transactions closer to the front of the queue.

Coinbase wasn't happy with these restrictions on its mobile app, saying Apple's decision was "akin to Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email that gets sent over open Internet protocols."

Apple's controversial in-app purchase fees have angered many cryptocurrency advocates, such as Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, who has fought against Apple's rules in a lawsuit, and said the tech Giants "need to be stopped".

Former YouTube executive and current Polygon Studios CEO Ryan Wyatt took a similar stance, calling Apple's 30 percent tax "criminal." Wyatt argued that the tax "will forever hinder technological progress because of its monopoly on the industry."

Billionaire Twitter CEO Elon Musk isn't immune to Apple's scrutiny either, having previously expressed concern that Apple could remove Twitter from its store (Musk then met with Apple CEO Tim Terry on Wednesday. Tim Cook, who apparently allayed those concerns).

Mask Tweet

Coinbase said it hoped the decision was an "oversight" and that it could be discussed further. It also believes that Apple's strict NFT fee policy will make it harder for NFTs to be widely adopted and for users to transfer assets.

“Apple has introduced new policies to protect their profits at the expense of consumer investment in NFTs and developer innovation across the crypto ecosystem,” Coinbase expressed.

While crypto enthusiasts on Twitter today downplayed Apple's restrictions, others pointed to the potential of Solana's Saga Phone, a Web3-native mobile device still in development that would have no such restrictions. The current release date is expected to be early next year.

"Today it's Apple, but tomorrow it could be Google," Solana's director of communications Austin Federa said in response to the news. "We need a third option."

 


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