Google Announces Support for External Crypto Transactions, Apple Fights for the Opposite

It has been estimated that a significant majority of the world’s population owns a smartphone today. Almost 7 billion of these devices are being used daily to download apps and games. Such a staggering statistic has made easy access to mobile app stores a high priority for the Web3 industry.

Google has recently made a giant leap forward towards this goal. In a recent blog post, the tech giant announced that the Google Play Store will soon allow developers to incorporate the use of NFTs in their Android apps and games.

Stipulations for the use of tokenized assets are outlined. For instance, developers need to make it very clear that their app or game sells or utilizes NFTs. “As blockchain technology continues to evolve, maintaining user trust is paramount,” the post states. “As part of the policy update, we’re requiring that apps be transparent with users about tokenized digital assets.”

Gambling for NFTs, including paying for “loot boxes” with random NFTs as the prize, must adhere to Google’s Play’s Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy. If an app or game does not meet this requirement, “developers should not offer purchases where the value of the NFT users receive is not clear at the time of purchase.”

Perhaps the most significant announcement is that NFTs that were obtained outside of the Google Play Store can be used in apps and games offered through it. This is a stark contrast to Apple, who announced back in October that apps could not direct customers to purchase NFTs outside of the App Store. To put it simply, Apple demands they take a bite of 30% of the transactions.

Web3 developers and users criticized Apple’s large fees immediately after the announcement. NFT marketplace OpenSea has a 2.5% transaction fee, making Apple’s 30% seem unfeasible.

Web3 developers are not the only ones that see these fees as unreasonable. Epic Games recently appealed the results of their 2020 lawsuit against Apple to allow for external transactions. Though most of their appeal was ruled in Apple’s favor, it was declared that restricting companies from directing payments outside of the App Store violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. Apple has stated they will appeal this ruling.

Google’s NFT policy may be coming at a fantastic time as the amount of apps supporting the use of crypto continues to rise. Telegram recently enabled cryptocurrency payments, and Reddit was even part of Google’s announcement.

“At Reddit we believe in empowering our users by providing transparency and a responsible approach to blockchain-based digital content – like our Collectible Avatars,” wrote Matt Williamson, the Senior Engineering Manager for Reddit. “We partnered with Google to help update their policy, aimed at creating a level playing field that promotes user trust, and responsible usage of blockchain technology.” This partnership may be extremely beneficial to the Web3 space due to Reddit having been one of the largest companies to push NFTs and crypto to the masses over the past few years.

Android users may be loading their phones with crypto-based apps sooner than they think – Google has stated these changes are going to start rolling out “later this summer.”

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