Apple’s announcement that it will soon allow NFTs to be traded in the App Store should have been a moment of triumph. Over half a billion people visit the App Store each week from 175 different countries. Integrating NFTs will bring them to a new, largely untapped audience, but there’s one massive catch.
Apple’s NFT cash grab
Apple will be taking a big cut. That stands at 30% for companies making more than $1 million annually and 15% for everybody else. Given that the whole purpose of Web3 is decentralisation, the news hasn't gone down well. It’s surely enough to put smaller NFT companies out of business and convince others that it simply isn’t worth going down the Apple NFT route.
A less discussed but important point is that NFTs will be bought/sold using USD rather than cryptocurrency. Users will feasibly be able to trade NFTs without learning anything about crypto or advancing the cause of Web3 a single inch. Apple will be applying its existing payment structure (the cut is the same as it takes for other games/apps), leading many to suggest that this is all distinctly Web2.
Apple faces NFT backlash
As a general rule, NFT marketplaces take a maximum 5% cut on secondary sales, making Apple an extreme outlier. Furious responses thus far include “grotesquely overpriced” and “Apple must be stopped.” Some argue that the 30% fee makes it “impossible” to sell in the App Store, and others that this is all just a desperate attempt by Apple to keep control over the mobile games industry. The reaction hasn’t been universally negative, though…
Many have pointed out that Apple integration allows developers to test out NFTs risk free, potentially on boarding millions of new companies and dramatically enlarging the space. Others have argued that, once people realise they can trade NFTs elsewhere without the 30% cut, they’ll likely leave Apple’s infrastructure and join Web3 proper. At the very least, Apple’s attempt to leverage NFTs during the bear market is a clear indication of the company’s confidence that, while the present is bleak, the future remains bright.
What do you think? Is Apple’s NFT integration a cynical cash grab and anti-Web3 moment, or could it be a game changer?