Coinbase has disabled NFT transfers on its iOS wallet app, blaming Apple’s 30% Tax. Using Apple software to pay its gas fees would subject such revenues to Apple’s 30% app tax.
“You might have noticed you can’t send NFTs on Coinbase Wallet iOS anymore. This is because Apple blocked our last app release until we disabled the feature,” the Coinbase Wallet account shared on Twitter Thursday.
While NFTs aren’t outright banned on Apple’s mobile app store, they are subject to a 30% tax on every transaction. If developers aren’t able to implement that requirement, their app will be blocked from the store.
Coinbase said Apple wants to take a 30% fee on any gas fees (i.e., transaction fees on the Ethereum network) paid on NFT transfers completed through the wallet app, which Coinbase says is “not possible.”
“For anyone who understands how NFTs and blockchains work, this is clearly not possible,” Coinbase said.
“Apple’s proprietary In-App Purchase system does not support crypto so we couldn’t comply even if we tried.”
Every time a user makes a transaction on the Ethereum network, even when simply transferring an asset like an NFT to a different wallet, the user must pay a fee known as gas. These fees are required for the network to run. But they’re more complicated than a flat fee and can’t be controlled by any single entity.
Gas prices—which are measured in gwei but paid in ETH—vary depending on Ethereum network traffic and the efficiency of a smart contract’s code. And more advanced users can opt to pay more to put their transaction closer to the front of the queue.
Coinbase is not happy about these restrictions to its mobile app, calling Apple’s decision “akin to Apple trying to take a cut of fees for every email that gets sent over open Internet protocols.”
Coinbase said it hopes this decision was simply “an oversight” and that it can be discussed further. It also believes that Apple’s strict NFT fee policy will make mainstream adoption of NFTs more difficult and will make it more cumbersome for users to transfer their assets.