This is the second time that Apple has been in the news this week with drama surrounding its App Store.
The first drama is already over (Twitter is not leaving the App Store anytime soon, as Elon Musk and Tim Cook's videoed walk and chat around a pond seems to show.)
But this second act coming now between Coinbase Wallet and Apple is actually a continuation of a saga that has been brought up many times already — will Apple waive their 30% in-app purchasing fee ever, for any reason?
I mused a few months ago about why Apple had no real incentive to get rid of this fee just for crypto companies: The point is that Apple never claimed to be Web3 forward, so why should they lose out on profits just to support NFT apps?
But yesterday, Coinbase Wallet began fighting back publicly against what they see as an outdated and irrelevant policy when it comes to NFTs. As we cover in our news story below, it's technically impossible for an app to give Apple 30% of the gas fees for sending NFTs. Blockchain is simply incompatible with this type of purchase/profit system.
Coinbase Wallet claims that this policy is actively preventing consumers from investing in NFTs and developers from innovating in the crypto ecosystem. And to this I say… the same point that I did before, but one step further. Perhaps Apple isn't just a Web2 company with no interest in exploring Web3, but it's a Web2 company with actively no interest in exploring Web3. In other words, could Apple's lack of interest in developing solutions to Web3 problems be less of a passive stance and more of a quietly antagonistic one?
Either way, Coinbase Wallet has left the proverbial ball in Apple's court. But I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Apple to quickly lobby a response back — the company is a lot more reticent about airing their laundry in public as compared to, say, SBF has been recently.
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos has flown to The Bahamas for a sitdown interview with Sam Bankman-Fried. The embattled FTX founder argued he's nothing like Bernie Madoff — and was asked whether he knew customer funds were improperly mixed with Alameda's. He insisted he didn't know this was the case. SBF admitted he didn't spend time trying to manage risk at the doomed exchange — and conceded he was "cocky." The 30-year-old also denied being in a polyamorous relationship with Alameda Research's CEO Caroline Ellison. "I lived with a bunch of monogamous couples when I was here, some of whom got married over the course of their time here. I don't know of any polyamorous relationships within FTX," he said.
The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a Delaware bankruptcy court judge to appoint an independent examiner to investigate the collapse of FTX. A filing says: "FTX's approximately one million worldwide creditors, outside investors, and regulators are demanding answers to what happened and how." Officials said they had confidence in the qualifications of FTX's new CEO John Ray — but his "objectives may not necessarily be aligned with those of all other interested parties." They went on to argue that an independent examiner "would be able to act as a true neutral as to all affected parties" — meaning that it "likely would enjoy broader acceptance and credibility."
In Washington, FTX's demise has left politicians rather confused. Sam Bankman-Fried spent tens of millions of dollars calling for a comprehensive regulatory framework for the crypto industry — pushing for a bill that his company "could never comply with." The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act would give the CFTC far broader regulatory control over crypto. Describing what's needed to prevent an FTX-style collapse happening again, CFTC chairman Rostin Benham said: "We need registration of exchanges. We need surveillance of market activity. We need direct relationships with custodians who are holding customer money so that we can prohibit and prevent money moving around."
Crypto's ongoing fight with Apple's App Store policy of collecting a 30% cut of every sale just knocked NFTs out of the Coinbase Wallet. On Thursday, the @CoinbaseWallet Twitter account announced that the iPhone version of the Wallet "can't send NFTs on Coinbase Wallet iOS anymore." Apple argues that the gas fees required to transfer non-fungible tokens should be paid for through their in-app purchase system — despite the fact that this would be impossible to achieve. "This is akin to Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email that gets sent over open Internet protocols," the exchange has warned. Apple has been accused of protecting profits "at the expense of consumer investment in NFTs and developer innovation."