Tech giant Apple is gearing up to permit third-party app stores on its devices to comply with new anti-monopolistic requirements from the European Union (EU), which could be seen as a huge win for crypto and NFT app developers, at least in Europe.
Under the new rules, European customers would be able to download alternative app marketplaces outside of Apple’s proprietary App Store, thus allowing them to download apps that skirt Apple’s 30% commissions and app restrictions according to a Dec. 13 Bloomberg report citing those familiar with the matter.
Currently, Apple has stringent rules for NFT apps that practically force users to go through in-app purchases subject to Apple’s 30% commission, while apps are not permitted to support cryptocurrency payments.
Apple’s enforcement of its rule led to a block of Coinbase’s self-custody wallet app update on Dec. 1 as Apple wanted to “collect 30% of the gas fee” through in-app purchases, something that is “clearly not possible” according to Coinbase.
It then claimed Apple wanted the wallet to disable NFT transactions if they couldn’t be done through its in-app purchase system.
Alex Salnikov, co-founder of NFT marketplace Rarible tweeted on Dec. 13 in response to the news that a “crypto app store” could be built and would be a “great candidate” for a venture capital-backed startup.
Apple’s move to open its ecosystem is in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act aiming to regulate so-called “gatekeepers” and ensure platforms behave fairly with part of the measures allowing “third parties to inter-operate with the gatekeeper’s own services.”
It will be applicable starting May 2023 with businesses needing to fully comply by 2024.
Apple hasn’t decided if it will comply with a part of the Act allowing developers to install alternative payment systems within apps that don’t involve Apple. if it does comply, it could open up payment systems that allow cryptocurrencies.
Under consideration by the tech giant is mandating security requirements for software outside of its store, such as verification from Apple, in a bid to protect users against unsafe apps.
The changes to Apple’s closed ecosystem would apply only within the EU, other regions would need to pass similar laws such as the proposed Open App Markets Act in the United States Congress from Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.
The SEC has charged Bankman-Fried with violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The SEC’s complaint seeks injunctions against future securities law violation that prohibits Bankman-Fried from participating in the issuance, purchase, offer or sale of any securities except for his own personal account.
SEC charged Bankman-Fried for orchestrating a scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX Trading Ltd. (FTX). The regulatory body noted that the former CEO concealed his “diversion of FTX customers’ funds to crypto trading firm Alameda Research while raising more than $1.8 billion from investors:”
“We allege that Sam Bankman-Fried built a house of cards on a foundation of deception while telling investors that it was one of the safest buildings in crypto," said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.”
The fresh charges against the former CEO come just a day after his arrest by Bahamian authorities at the request of U.S. authorities. Just hours after Bankman-Fried’s arrest, SEC announced they were preparing to file charges against the FTX co-founder, which will be separate from the ones leading to his most recent arrest in the Bahamas.
The world’s largest stablecoin issuer, Tether, has pledged to eventually stop the practice of lending out funds from its reserves, saying it is “mission critical to restore faith" in the crypto market.
In a Dec. 13 post, the stablecoin issuer addressed recent mainstream media FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) concerning its secured loans, among other FUD which have hit the "rumor mill."
Tether reiterated that its secured loans are over-collateralized and covered by “extremely liquid assets,” while also adding that the firm would be eliminating these loans throughout 2023, stating:
Tether is announcing starting from now, throughout 2023, it will reduce secured loans in Tether’s reserves to zero.
Tether’s secured loans operate similarly to private banks lending to customers using secured collateral, the company explained. However, unlike banks that operate on fractional reserves, Tether claimed that its loans are fully backed by over 100%.
The move is likely in response to a WSJ report earlier this month that alleged these loans were risky. It claimed that the “company may not have enough liquid assets to pay redemptions in a crisis.”
It is not the first time the WSJ has targeted Tether. In August the outlet said that Tether could be deemed “technically insolvent” if its assets fell just 0.3%. The stablecoin issuer refuted the claims at the time stating that it had increased the legitimacy and transparency of its attestations by hiring a top-5 accounting firm.
According to those attestations, 82% of Tether reserves are held in "extremely liquid" assets.
In October, Tether responded to more media FUD by further eliminating commercial paper from its reserves and replacing the investments with U.S. Treasury Bills.
In its most recent statement, the company stated that it will wind down its lending business without losses and continue its mission to prioritize transparency and accountability.
“We will continue to show Tether’s resilience through the most uncertain times, regardless of the story fabrications and disinformation concocted by Tether Truthers and clickbait headlines from mainstream media that have been consistently wrong about Tether, for close to a decade.”
Tether is currently the leading stablecoin issuer with 65.8 billion USDT circulating giving it a market share of 46.6%, according to CoinGecko.
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