As the relationship between platform guidelines and emerging technologies, particularly blockchain, continues to become a topic of scrutiny, two U.S. lawmakers – Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) – have recently vocalized concerns regarding these potential clashes in the field of distributed ledger technology and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
The primary point of contention lies in the restrictive guidelines of Apple’s App Store. The lawmakers, in a recent letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, raised questions about the possible stifling effect of these guidelines on these burgeoning sectors of tech innovation.
Concerns Over ‘Lite’ Versions Of Crypto Apps
According to the representatives, Apple’s guidelines seem to have been used to both capitalize on and diminish the functionality of crypto apps by forcing the creation of “lite” versions.
The letter to Cook highlighted the case of ‘Axie Infinity’, a popular game that utilizes blockchain technology. The game’s experience in the App Store was cited as an example of the potential limitations these guidelines could impose on the broader scope of blockchain innovation in the industry.
The lawmakers questioned the balance between the professed need for security and the perceived utilization of the App Store as a competitive tool. The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee expressed:
While Apple has argued these limitations increase security by creating a walled garden, many are concerned that Apple has used the app store as a weapon against competitors.
Possible Impact On U.S. Technological Leadership
A major concern raised by lawmakers is the potential impact of these App Store policies on the U.S.’s leadership in the realm of emerging technologies. They emphasized the importance of understanding the guidelines fully to assess the extent to which they may be stifling innovation, thereby potentially undermining American technological dominance.
The representatives stated:
It is essential that Congress fully understand the App Store Guidelines and the extent to which these guidelines limit innovation and impact American technological leadership.
At the end of the note, they reasserted their commitment to “promoting transparency” and holding “Big Tech accountable for any monopolistic behavior.” The ultimate goal, they noted, is to foster a “level playing field within the industry that allows American ingenuity to continue to thrive.”
Speaking of stifling blockchain innovation, Apple has recently disallowed access to Nostr, a pioneering protocol with the potential to decentralize social media and enhance resistance to censorship, on its App Store. The reason cited for this was Bitcoin transactions facilitated through the platform.
Meanwhile, despite the suppression of blockchain innovation, the global crypto market has continued to thrive. Over the past 24 hours, the market has seen a nearly 1% gain with its total valuation currently sitting at $1.147 trillion, at the time of writing.
Featured image from NotebookCheck, Chart from TradingView.com