Apple Inc. is yet again under the microscope for its app store practices, this time concerning the emerging sectors of cryptocurrency trading and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). On Friday, House Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Jan Schakowsky sent a letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, requesting information concerning the company’s App Store policies and their potential limits on the progression of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.
The Representatives noted that Apple appears to have used its guidelines to increase its own profits and reduce the utility of apps in blockchains, NFTs, and other blockchain-related technology. Among other cases, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase accused Apple of forcing it to remove NFT transfers from its wallet app in iOS, and many NFT companies have made similar allegations, claiming that Apple forced them to roll out Lite versions of their apps.
These instances raise broader concerns that Apple’s app store policies may hinder American leadership in emerging technologies, including blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies. Bilirakis and Schakowsky posed 21 questions to Apple, to be answered by August 14th, 2023, related to the status of ‘sideloading’ and the company’s admittance policies.
The congressional query was welcomed by the CEO of the Crypto Council, Sheila Warren, as evidence that the crypto game isn’t a partisan matter, and Paul Grewal, the Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, questioned if Americans are well-served by the arbitrary applications of a single giant’s App Store policies. It is clear that there is a need to rethink the approach to digital currencies and the technologies underpinning them.