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Coinbase Suspends NFT Transfers on iOS App Over Hefty Tax Concerns




VOC, Voice of Crypto, NFT

Key Insights

  • Coinbase has disabled NFT transfers on its wallet for Apple users.
  • Industry players say Apple’s new policy poses a setback for the NFT ecosystem.
  • The Apple policy places a 30% tax on NFT purchases, listing, and minting.


Coinbase made it public that users can no longer send their NFTs on the iOS app. In the tweet, Coinbase revealed that it is due to the latest Apple policy. 

You would recall that Apple recently introduced an in-app purchase policy— where Apple introduced a higher gas fee for any NFT transferred or collected through the iOS in-app purchase system. Apple says the gas fee stands at 30%, which is compulsory for all wallets on the iOS store. 

Similarly, Coinbase explained that “Apple’s proprietary In-App Purchase system does not support crypto. Therefore,  the exchange couldn’t comply even if we tried.” 

Significantly, the way Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology works require the transfer of crypto tokens. Since the Apple policy does not allow transfers except via its payment channel— it was difficult for Coinbase to continue NFT transfers for Apple users. 

Furthermore, Paul Grewel, the Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, seeks to know the reason for the policy. He said, “When someone imposes rules that can’t be followed, you should ask why.” 


However, Apple has neither responded to NFT industry players’ comments nor clarified the policy further. 

Impact of Apple’s New Policy on NFT Space

The new Apple policy introduced on 24 October has been met with criticisms and condemnations. NFT enthusiasts, industry players, and stakeholders perceive it as a major setback for every stakeholder in the NFT ecosystem. 

Similarly, it will affect App developers that integrate in-app features/ functions and redirect buyers to external purchase links. This has largely impacted Coinbase because most exchanges are done across multiple wallets. 

Furthermore, Blockchain-based games using NFT must use the Apple payment gateway or suspend their Apps on the Apple store. The policy shows that Apple supports NFTs they tax and ban NFTs they do not. 

Industry players have frowned at the imposition of a bogus 30% tax; they call it the “Apple tax.” They said the hefty tax is not at par with other marketplaces in the NFT ecosystem. 

For instance, OpenSea charges only a 2.5% fee. “Now Apple is killing all NFT app businesses it can’t tax, crushing another nascent technology that could rival its grotesquely overpriced in-app payment service.” Tim Sweeney, the chief executive officer at Epic Games, said.


Apple’s Clarification 

Apple’s main argument is that the policy will enable it to control its iOs store and— the security of its payment gateway. Similarly, developers and crypto service providers can make money and keep track of their in-app purchases.  

Regarding cryptocurrency transactions, users can facilitate transactions on an approved exchange without restrictions from Apple. Apple, however, clarifies that it is not a restriction but an update to its service providers and consumers.