Apple Abruptly Orders Coinbase Wallet to Remove Crypto Collectible

Analysis

It seems iPhone users won’t have access to the crypto collectible craze anytime soon.

The news comes after forthcoming video game War Riders was featured on the Coinbase Wallet iOS app and then quickly withdrawn. In War Riders, players drive around an apocalyptic wasteland, building up armies of vehicles – vehicles represented by non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on a blockchain.

According to screenshots obtained by CoinDesk, a Coinbase staffer told Cartified, the company behind the game, via Discord:

“Quick heads up – we will be removing from the iOS version as we’re not able to highlight dapps that facilitate purchase of digital goods.”

The Coinbase spokesperson explained that War Riders was the only app listed within the wallet that sells NFTs.

Notably, CryptoKitties, the famous decentralized application (dapp) for buying and breeding digital cats, isn’t even featured. Although War Riders and others remain listed on the Android version of the Coinbase Wallet app.

Stepping back, Apple has long had a complicated relationship with crypto in its app store. Coinbase was itself removed for a time early on (but that was a long time back). Plus an early game that allowed users to earn bitcoin for playing was also removed.

Viktor Radchenko, CEO of Trust Wallet, tweeted about the same problem in June.

“Experience with Apple is just terrible,” he told CoinDesk via Telegram. “No communication from their on how to work with NFT’s or even with cryptocurrencies.”

Yet, within Apple’s app store review guidelines, there’s no specific language forbidding NFTs precisely. Radchenko said Apple has indicated they are forbidden under its “In-App Purchase” rules.

Neither Apple nor Coinbase have responded to repeated requests for comment.

Featured dapps

The controversy started Monday after Coinbase enabled native hosting of the dapp’s NFTs on its app.

That was the first day War Riders got native support for its NFT on Coinbase, meaning users could not only find the game by name, but also, should they purchase an NFT, it would show up in the Coinbase Wallet, according to Vlad Kartashov, CEO of Cartified.

By late Tuesday night, Kartashov informed CoinDesk that War Riders was no longer showing up as “featured dapp” within the Coinbase Wallet at all.

While Cartified is not officially describing the gameplay yet, it’s currently selling premium vehicles, of which there are only 30,000 premium vehicles of a maximum 1,180,000 vehicles throughout the whole game.

According to Kartashov, it’s not for a lack of interest that the game got removed.

“We have a very thriving community on Discord, and people have already been forming clans even though clans have not been announced officially,” he told CoinDesk. 

Plus, the game itself seems well suited to attract fans of post-apocalyptic games, even those that are tired of the same old, same old design.

“These vehicles will also be modernized and will not be from the 70s like it is in the most post-apocalyptic games,” he said.

Another token

Beside the NFT, War Riders’ players will also use an ERC-20 token called benzene (or BZN) within the game as money. BZN will be released to players through caches that will be algorithmically generated by the game within its world.

But there’s a twist here. BZN will function as a more traditional cryptocurrency outside the game, but players that acquire the token within the game must use their vehicles to safely get the BZN back to their garage in order to use it in the real world. Other players will be able to steal it on the way.

Its premium NFTs will also come with full “tanks” of BZN, so it will be on the market in small quantities before the game goes live.

Speaking to Cartified’s mission for BZN, Kartashov said, ”No BZN will ever be for sale. There’s no ICO or anything like that. We are only selling non-fungible tokens.”

Cartified is only running an NFT pre-sale right now. Buyers are not yet receiving the actual tokens.

Kartashov has not been able to get any more clarity about the specific objection from Apple to his app, but concluded:

“I’m not sure what’s exactly bad with people wanting to play games.”

Apple image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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