Coinbase has stopped NFT transfers from its wallet app on iOS after being left with no choice by Apple. The US-based crypto exchange made the announcement via a tweet on December 1, citing Apple’s unreasonable demands for the decision.
The exchange claims that Apple blocked its latest app release until it disabled the NFT transfer feature. The bone of contention is the blockchain fee that is charged for any NFT transfers. Apple wants a 30% cut on the fees, so it required the transfers to go through its in-app purchase system.
However, that is problematic for several reasons. First, the Apple system doesn’t support crypto payments. Blockchain fees are paid using the network token. So an NFT operating on the Ethereum network will pay its fees in ETH.
Additionally, blockchain fees don’t go directly to Coinbase, as they are used to reward transaction validators. Therefore, even free NFT transfers, let’s say between two wallets you own, will attract a fee. Also, even if you gift an NFT to a friend, it will still attract a fee. The point is that neither the sender nor the receiver of the NFT benefits from the fees.
The fees also vary depending on token prices and how many transfers are taking place at a given time.
Therefore, by asking for 30% of the blockchain fees, Apple is being unreasonable, or they lack understanding of how NFT transfers work. If they do understand, then they don’t have a system in place to levy the fees.
What is clear is that Apple is concerned with its own bottom line.
Apple’s Policy On NFT Transfers
That said, the block shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Coinbase. In October, Apple updated its App Store review guidelines, allowing NFT viewing but discouraging purchases taking place outside the platform.
“Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app. Apps may allow users to browse NFT collections owned by others, provided that the apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.”