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US Lawmakers Scrutinize Apple’s App Store Policies on Blockchain, NFTs

US Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Jan Schakowsky probe Apple’s App Store policies, expressing concerns over potential impediments to innovations such as blockchain and NFTs.

US Lawmakers Query Apple on App Store's Blockchain, NFT Policies

US Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Jan Schakowsky have written to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expressing concerns about Apple's App Store policies and their potential impact on budding technologies like blockchain and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

The lawmakers' letter calls for clarity on whether the App Store's guidelines may unintentionally hinder the development and expansion of cutting-edge innovations. They noted a tendency in Apple's approach, where it seems to exploit and concurrently restrict the functionality of crypto apps. The company mandates the launch of 'lite' versions of these apps, which both generate profits for Apple and reduce the app's overall utility. As an example, they cited the experience of Axie Infinity on the App Store.

The representatives expressed worries about the possible adverse effects of Apple's policies on the US's position in emerging technologies. While Apple has defended these restrictions as a means to improve security through a 'walled garden' approach, there is widespread apprehension that the company might be using the App Store as a tool to stifle competition.

Highlighting the need for Congress to fully comprehend the App Store guidelines and assess their potential to obstruct innovation, the lawmakers stated:

"Our subcommittee remains committed to promoting full transparency and ensuring that Big Tech is held accountable for monopolistic behavior."

They intend to establish an even playing field within the industry to allow American inventiveness to continue flourishing. The lawmakers had previously written a similar letter to Apple about the App Store's policies concerning TikTok and other apps originating from China.