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Coinbase says Apple has blocked its latest app update over NFT gas fees

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(Kitco News) - First, it was Elon Musk taking issue with Apple’s App Store policy, and now it’s Coinbase, the top cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., which has claimed that the tech company has blocked certain features on its self-custody Coinbase Wallet.

“You might have noticed you can't send NFTs [nonfungible tokens] on Coinbase Wallet iOS anymore. This is because Apple blocked our last app release until we disabled the feature,” the exchange said in a Twitter thread posted on Thursday.

The 30% fee that Apple charges on all transactions made through apps listed on its App store has long been a point of contention for many app makers. Now, the company appears to be ramping up its efforts to increase revenue by claiming that the gas fees required to send NFTs need to be paid through their In-App Purchase system, which would allow it to collect 30% of the gas fee as well.

“For anyone who understands how NFTs and blockchains work, this is clearly not possible. Apple’s proprietary In-App Purchase system does not support crypto so we couldn’t comply even if we tried,” Coinbase said. “This is akin to Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email that gets sent over open Internet protocols.”

As it stands now, iOS-based Coinbase Wallet users will not be able to transfer their NFTs and will be required to reestablish that wallet on another device that allows NFT transactions.

“The biggest impact from this policy change is on iPhone users that own NFTs - if you hold an NFT in a wallet on an iPhone, Apple just made it a lot harder to transfer that NFT to other wallets, or gift it to friends or family,” Coinbase tweeted.

The exchange went on to claim that “Apple introduced new policies to protect their profits at the expense of consumer investment in NFTs and developer innovation across the crypto ecosystem.”

It closed the thread by saying “We hope this is an oversight on Apple’s behalf and an inflection point for further conversations with the ecosystem.”

Apple updates its App Store guidelines, imposing a 30% commission on NFTs

Apple has long had a tumultuous relationship with cryptocurrency applications as their ability to facilitate payments outside of the actual app – by making on-chain transactions – has led Apple to delist many popular crypto apps.

In October, the tech giant updated the rules for the App store, saying that apps may facilitate “transactions or transmissions of cryptocurrency on an approved exchange,” but that “Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality” such as cryptocurrencies or cryptocurrency wallets.

The new guidelines also stated that apps may use in-app purchases to sell NFTs and sell services related to them, such as minting, listing, and transferring of these tokens, as long as the apps do “not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.”

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