Apple is refusing to exempt non-fungible tokens from the 30% app store fee.

The tech giant’s de facto ban on peer-to-peer NFT trading is likely here to stay.

It is permitted for an app to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions or transmissions on an approved exchange, as long as the app is offered only in countries or regions where it has appropriate licensing and permissions to provide an exchange.

Apple has denied a request to exempt NFTs from its 30% “Apple Tax” on in-app purchases.

On Monday, the tech giant codified its rules for iOS apps that handle non-fungible tokens (NFT) by providing its first official green light on offering in-app NFT minting, buying, and selling.

Apple’s control over the app economy means NFT trading is unlikely to become mainstream anytime soon. That is because in-app NFT transactions must use Apple’s commerce rails, where Apple collects 30% of the profits for its use. To avoid paying such a high percentage, app creators and marketplaces have long chosen to limit NFT capabilities rather than lose so much money.

According to a recent report from The Information, Apple’s payment policies are discouraging marketplaces and creators from participating in the company’s ecosystem and, in some cases, forcing them to abandon NFT integrations.

Web3 integrations are still being cautiously explored by some game publishers. @Ubisoft has retreated from its initial bullish statements about NFTs. @Apple appears to be sticking with its 30% in-app NFT tax despite the likelihood that it will restrict web3 adoption.

It would appear unlikely that apps that choose to offer NFT mints would be able to accept crypto in return since “in-app purchase” services like Apple’s do not handle crypto payments.

Apple has for the first time provided specific rules for NFTs in its App Store guidelines. Monday’s updates signify the first time.

The policy update also prohibits apps from providing exclusively NFT-owning users, or from directing them to third-party sites where they can buy, sell, or mint outside the Apple ecosystem, thus avoiding the derisive “Apple Tax.”

In section 3.1.1 of its App Store guidelines on Oct. 24, apps were not allowed to use their own keys, QR codes, augmented reality marks, cryptocurrencies, or cryptocurrency wallets to unlock content or functionality (the crypto entries were absent from an Oct. 22 version).

Apple’s update doesn’t change its existing crypto trading policies, which allow in-app crypto trading on services such as Coinbase and FTX, which don’t have to pay 30% fees.

The passage in bold provides the extra explicit teeth (see the underlined parts):

“Apps may offer cryptocurrency exchange functionality on an approved exchange in countries or regions where the app is licensed and permitted to do so, as long as the functionality is not available outside those countries or regions.”