Apple Inc. recently ordered Coinbase to remove a decentralized application that contained cryptocurrency collectibles. The app in question, War Riders, includes vehicles that are represented as non-fungible tokens. The reasoning behind the request is unclear, as Apple doesn’t specifically ban non-fungible tokens in the guidelines of its AppStore. However, it adds another episode to the saga that has become the iPhone maker’s relationship with cryptocurrencies. The issue only affects Coinbase’s iOS wallet and crypto collectibles are still available on its Android app.
What Are Crypto Collectibles?
Crypto Collectibles, also known as non-fungible tokens, are essentially tokens that have a unique code and cannot be replaced with anything else. For example, if you lend a friend $10, they can then return another $10 bill. However, if you lend a friend “The Starry Night” by Van Gogh, then they can only return that exact painting. Fungible and non-fungible tokens operate in the same manner.
Most crypto collectibles use the ERC-721 protocol. This allows the token to include more data than the standard ERC-20 token. Currently, non-fungible tokens don’t serve any purpose. They are just collectibles which people are willing to pay money for. The most popular example of crypto collectibles is cryptokitties. When the craze surrounding cryptokitties was in full swing, people paid tens of thousands of dollars for them. However, there is a possibility that non-fungible tokens could be used in the future to digitize some information such as birth certificates, identities, property rights.
How War Riders Crypto Collectibles Work?
Coinbase has recently upgraded and rebranded its wallet. Among the features is the possibility to buy and store crypto collectibles. In addition, the wallet offers a mobile decentralized browser. The browser allows accessing third-party apps and games, such as War Riders.
War Riders is a massive multiplayer online game. Players drive around a post-apocalyptic wasteland in special vehicles. Each vehicle is a crypto collectible. In addition, the game features its own tokens called Benzene. Benzene tokens will be available throughout the game, but will also serve as a traditional cryptocurrency in the real world. Gamers will be able to drive around and steal Benzene from other players or find it in the game.
Apparently, Benzene will also trade on traditional crypto exchanges. However, War Riders’ developer is not planning an ICO. Instead, on the company’s website, players can pre-order vehicles, which work as crypto collectibles. There are 30,000 premium, 150,000 mid-grade, and 1.0 million regular vehicles. Being non-fungible tokens, each vehicle will be unique and customizable.
Apple Has a Patched History with Crypto
This is not the first time that Apple has taken issue with the cryptocurrency community. In 2013, when Coinbase launched its first iOS app for Bitcoin buying and selling, Apple removed it from the App Store just a month after the launch. A couple of years earlier, it did a similar thing with another Bitcoin app, Bitpak. Moreover, in 2014, it removed Blockchain.info wallet app, which was the only one since Coinbase and Bitpak had been removed previously. It’s unclear why Apple was so aggressive towards wallet apps, but it let them on its AppStore once the crypto community got larger.
However, Apple’s anti-crypto position has shown itself again earlier this year. In June, Apple updated the guidelines for developers that submit apps on its AppStore. The new guidelines reflected a ban on mining cryptocurrencies from iOS or Mac OS devices. According to the guidelines, developers should design the apps to be power efficient. The apps also should not drain the battery, generate excessive heat or put unnecessary strain on the resources. Moreover, the apps should not run certain background processes, such as mining. Apple also doesn’t allow apps that offer cryptocurrency for completing tasks, which might be why it asked Coinbase to remove War Riders.