Google Play changes policy toward blockchain-based apps, opening door to tokenized digital assets, NFTs

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Google has updated its mobile software marketplace policy to allow application developers to integrate digital assets like NFTs into their games through its Play app store, the company’s group product manager Joseph Mills announced on Wednesday.

As part of the policy update, Mills stated apps must be “transparent with users about tokenized digital assets” and developers can’t “promote or glamorize any potential earning from playing or trading activities.”

Apps that aren’t in line with Google Play’s “Real-Money Gambling, Games and Contests policy” or fit eligibility requirements also can’t accept money for chances to win assets, including NFTs. “This includes, but is not limited to, offering mechanisms to receive randomized blockchain-based items from a purchase such as ‘loot boxes,’” Mills said.

Those limitations could potentially prevent NFT newcomers from being duped into believing that buying these tokenized assets could result in massive gains – an oft-used marketing tactic for some projects in the space.

This new change will also allow apps and games on Google Play to reconceptualize “traditional games with user-owned content to boosting user loyalty through unique NFT rewards,” Mills noted.

The company anticipates users will begin seeing in-app and game experiences later this summer, as a select group of developers are helping to test out the new policy ahead of its wide rollout to all developers on Google Play later this year.

Reddit, which has seen success from its crypto wallets and NFT avatars, partnered with Google to help update their policy, Matt Williamson, senior engineering manager at the social news site, said in the post.

In the future, Google Play plans on working with industry partners on further improving its support of blockchain-based applications, including secondary marketplaces.

While Google is updating its policies, one of the other major app stores, Apple’s, remains steady. In general, Apple has taken a cautious stance toward the digital asset ecosystem by putting additional fees on NFT sales, something that most NFT creators would not agree to.

In October, Apple said apps are allowed to list, mint, transfer, and let users view their own existing NFTs. However, their rules prevent the ownership of NFTs from unlocking any more features within the app. Plus, while apps can let users browse other collections, they’re prevented from showing external links, buttons or call to action to purchase NFTs. Users can only purchase NFTs through Apple’s in-app payment system according to the company’s official guidelines.

Going forward, there could be potential for Apple to budge or make new policy updates to grow in the blockchain-based world and match Google’s evolving position – or the company could just say f*** it, and let Google have it. Time will tell.



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