The top U.S. crypto exchange turned off Coinbase Wallet's ability to handle NFTs after the App Store demanded 30% of the transaction fees for sending the tokens from one address to another.
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," the company said. "This is because Apple blocked our last app release until we disabled the feature."
The problem, it said, is that "Apple's claim is that the gas fees required to send NFTs need to be paid through their In-App Purchase system, so that they can collect 30% of the gas fee."
Which, it noted, is a problem "for anyone who understands how NFTs and blockchains work" for several reasons.
"The biggest impact from this policy change is on iPhone users that own NFTs — if you hold an NFT in a wallet on an iPhone, Apple just made it a lot harder to transfer that NFT to other wallets, or gift it to friends or family."
More to the point, however, the "in-app purchase system does not support crypto so we couldn't comply even if we tried," Coinbase Wallet said. "This is akin to Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email that gets sent over open Internet protocols." It added:
"Simply put, Apple has introduced new policies to protect their profits at the expense of consumer investment in NFTs and developer innovation across the crypto ecosystem."
The policy is a "good example of the kinds of discussions we have with Apple on a monthly basis, to deal with their app store monopoly," added Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. "It's gotten pretty absurd at times."
The 30% Solution
That policy also imposes the 30% fee on all NFT sales. As a result, a number of leading marketplaces, including OpenSea and Rarible, have browse-only apps.
It also adds a slew of new restrictions, including a ban on NFTs unlocking other features in an app and, of course, those apps providing any alternate way to pay — the same battle with Apple that Fortnite-developer Epic Games is fighting in court.