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Apple to allow downloading of alternate App Stores and Apps

In Europe, the revelation that Apple is preparing to enable third-party app stores on its devices to meet new anti-monopolistic European Union (EU) criteria might be a significant gain for app developers working on cryptocurrency and non-fungible token applications.

What spurred this decision? 

According to a Bloomberg report published on December 13 that quoted people familiar with the situation, the new guidelines would allow European customers to download app marketplaces other than Apple’s own App Store. This would allow them to download apps that avoid Apple’s 30% commissions and restrictions.

At the moment, Apple has strict rules for NFT apps that virtually force users to make in-app purchases subject to Apple’s 30% fee, while apps are not allowed to accept cryptocurrency as payment. Apple’s guidelines also prohibit apps from supporting third-party payment systems.

However, on December 1, Coinbase’s self-custody wallet app upgrade was blocked due to Apple’s rule enforcement. This is because Apple wants to “capture 30% of the gas fee” through in-app sales, which Coinbase claims is “obviously not doable.” Apple’s rule was imposed for Apple to “receive 30% of the gas fee.”

According to the article, Apple wanted the wallet to disable NFT transactions if they couldn’t be completed through the company’s in-app purchase system.

Apple’s move to open its ecosystem comes in reaction to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which attempts to control “gatekeepers” and guarantee platforms act fairly. Since one of the provisions in the statute already allows “third parties to interoperate with the gatekeeper’s services,” it spurred Apple to act.

Hence, this decision will go into force in May 2023, with all enterprises obliged to comply in full by the end of 2024. Despite that, Apple has yet to decide whether it will comply with a clause of the Act that allows app developers to include non-Apple-related alternative payment systems into their apps. If it does comply, it may pave the way for cryptocurrency-accepting payment systems.

Will the change promise users security? 

To protect consumers from potentially dangerous programs, the tech giant is considering mandating some security measures for software not offered in its store, such as Apple authentication. However, the changes to Apple’s restricted environment would take effect only within the European Union. 

All in all, if we look back, the limitation of connections, access, and control of Apple devices from other brand devices or applications has been a prominent cause for many to not switch to Apple. However, with a change in its store, we’ll have to see whether the tables turn for Apple users or if it is another unique feature limited to some extent for those with bigger hopes.

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