Google Allows Integration of NFTs in Play Store, Sets New Guidelines to Ensure Transparency and User Protection

Google has recently announced a policy update for its mobile software marketplace, Google Play, allowing application developers to integrate digital assets like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) into their games. The news was shared by Joseph Mills, the company’s group product manager, on Wednesday. As part of this update, app developers are required to be transparent with users about tokenized digital assets and are not allowed to promote or glamorize potential earnings from playing or trading activities.

To ensure fair practices, apps that do not adhere to Google Play’s Real-Money Gambling, Games and Contests policy or meet eligibility requirements will not be allowed to accept money for chances to win assets, including NFTs. Mills specifically mentioned that mechanisms such as ‘loot boxes’ offering randomized blockchain-based items cannot be used. These measures aim to prevent newcomers from being misled into thinking that purchasing tokenized assets will lead to significant profits – a common marketing tactic employed by some projects in the space.

In addition to safeguarding user interests, this policy change opens up opportunities for apps and games on Google Play to reimagine traditional gaming experiences by incorporating user-owned content and offering unique NFT rewards. Mills highlighted that users can expect in-app and game experiences reflecting these changes later this summer. Before its full rollout later this year, a select group of developers will participate in testing the new policy.

Notably, Reddit collaborated with Google on updating their policy. The social news site has witnessed success through its crypto wallets and NFT avatars. Matt Williamson, senior engineering manager at Reddit, expressed their involvement in the post. This partnership indicates Google’s commitment to working closely with industry partners towards enhancing support for blockchain-based applications and secondary marketplaces.

While Google takes steps towards embracing blockchain technology and NFTs, Apple – another major app store – maintains a cautious stance. Apple has imposed additional fees on NFT sales, a move that many NFT creators find unfavorable. Although Apple allows apps to list, mint, transfer, and view users’ existing NFTs, their rules prohibit leveraging ownership of NFTs for unlocking further app features. Furthermore, apps are restricted from displaying external links, buttons, or calls to action for purchasing NFTs. Users can only acquire NFTs through Apple’s in-app payment system according to the company’s guidelines.

Looking ahead, there is room for potential policy updates from Apple to align with Google’s evolving position and embrace blockchain-based solutions. Alternatively, Apple may choose to maintain its current stance while Google leads the way in this domain. Time will reveal how both app store giants navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of digital assets and blockchain technology.