Apple Wants 30% From NFT Trades, Blocking Transfers on Coinbase Wallet. Will Other iOS Wallets Be Forced to Follow?

Cointime Staff· 6 min read

by Adrianna Lakatos

Coinbase Wallet can no longer offer in-app NFT transactions

On December 1st, 2022, Coinbase Wallet took to Twitter to explain the situation and alert their users.

In the midst of their efforts to push out iOS updates, Coinbase Wallet has faced a setback due to Apple’s new policies.

Does Apple want to get in on some of the profits?

Apple wants a 30% cut of all gas fees for in-app transactions — which Coinbase Wallet is not yet willing to pay. In fact, Coinbase has even argued that this is “clearly not possible” due to the way NFTs and Blockchain work.

This announcement has caused a standstill in their progress towards pushing out new updates, and users will have to wait until the company can resolve the issue with Apple.

These developments have left many wondering if other wallets, such as Rainbow and MetaMask, will face similar issues in the near future.

Coinbase Wallet isn’t the first iOS wallet to face difficulties from Apple’s regulations

Just look at what happened with Ledger just weeks before. Ledger published a blog post in November addressing the changes.

“On October 24, 2022, Apple released an updated version of its Apple Store guidelines. This version includes restrictive requirements regarding how NFTs may be managed in apps listed on the App Store.”

This update included many new and unforeseen restrictions placed in iOS apps, limiting many of the crucial features of these wallet apps.

Thankfully, Ledger shared some workarounds — but it seems that it might not be enough, especially if Apple continues their crackdown and wants a larger slice of the crypto pie.

Many wallets are shifting to desktop applications and web browsers, forgoing further innovation within the iOS App Store until these restrictions are lifted.

Today’s news begs the question of how other mobile cryptocurrency wallets will be affected.

Will other wallets follow the lead of Coinbase and Ledger, or will they all continue with the status quo until Apple cracks down even harder?

This news comes at a shock to many, mainly because Coinbase Wallet was a great solution for “Web3 newbies” and people that were new to the NFT space. It touted a more user-friendly solution for beginners to get started with crypto and NFTs. Now, this option may no longer be available.

Will this mean a greater shift from Apple users to solutions like Android? Or, will other players in the game follow Solana’s footsteps, creating their own version of Solana Mobile, which promises to introduce a new “dApp Store” and “Web3 in your pocket”?

Solana enthusiasts have chimed in with a potential solution, but there’s still no current fix.

Where do we go from here?

Other wallets may be forced to make significant changes to their applications. As Apple continues to impose stringent guidelines on App Store transactions, this has raised questions about whether other wallets like Rainbow and Metamask will have to adjust their applications. Apple’s strict regulations have long been a point of contention for many developers, particularly those in the crypto space. Apple first mentioned these changing guidelines to include crypto transactions in their standard 30% tax in October 2022 and now, they’re cracking down hard.

By requiring app developers to pay a 30% cut of all in-app transactions, Apple can essentially dictate how apps operate in their store.

It is clear that Coinbase and Ledger have had little choice in the matter, with the only logical option being to disable NFT transactions — which significantly impacts the user experience, rendering the app basically useless for some users. Only time will tell if other wallets will also be forced to comply with Apple’s demands, but the odds don’t seem good. While most likely not a popular decision, it could become a necessity if these companies want to keep their apps updated and keep their Apple user base.

Apple’s policies have already had a direct impact on the ability of users to easily send NFTs on their iOS devices, and this trend could spread if other wallets are not able to find a workaround.

In the end, it is up to Apple as to whether or not they will allow NFT transactions within their App Store — but it won’t stop unhappy Apple users and wallet providers from airing their grievances online. The move is a huge blow to the NFT industry as a whole, where mass adoption relies heavily on users being able to send tokens directly from their wallets.

Rainbow, MetaMask, and Trust have seemed to continue on normally, and none of them have reported any issues with their iOS apps to date. Whether these changes will spread to other popular wallets remains to be seen. That said, it’s likely that these wallets will soon face the same issues as Coinbase Wallet and Ledger.

With Apple now taking a cut of in-app transactions, developers are left with two choices: either comply with the new policy or find another way to send digital assets.

Apple’s fees could lead to more competition among browser apps from other crypto companies. With the fees cutting into developers’ profits, they may decide to focus on creating a better user experience without an iOS app, or offering lower fees to compete with Apple’s. Other wallets could continue to offer their services without the need for Apple’s approval.

For Rainbow, MetaMask, Trust, and other popular wallets, it’s likely that they will find alternative solutions to keep their iOS apps operational. It’s possible that they might look to adopt other crypto services, to get around Apple’s fees.

It seems many of these workaround are pretty self-explanatory for crypto-natives that are naturally more technically-minded, but this will certainly hurt people new to the space that are desperately searching for easy, user-friendly wallet solutions. It’s hard to beat the convenience of a mobile phone app.

Ultimately, no one can be sure how this situation will play out in the long run.

However, it seems clear that developers will have to make some adjustments if they want to keep their iOS apps up and running.

The implications go beyond just wallet providers, as NFTs have become increasingly popular with creators who use them to generate revenue from their work. Without access to NFTs, it could be harder for these creators to monetize their creations. Apple could eventually make an exception for digital creators, but it remains to be seen how this issue will play out in the long run. This move by Apple could have a significant impact on the entire cryptocurrency landscape, as many use mobile-friendly wallets for trading, transferring, and managing digital assets.

Ultimately, the decision by Coinbase and Ledger to disable NFT transfers on their iOS apps could have ripple effects throughout the entire crypto community. It is unclear if other wallets will be forced to follow their lead, but users should keep an eye out for any changes that might be made regarding NFT transactions within the App Store.

If you need me, I’ll be transferring all of my NFTs back and forth between Rainbow and MetaMask while I still can, just to feel something.

Then again, switching to Samsung doesn’t seem so bad…

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