Stepn NFTs Available on iOS, with Apple Tax to Pay

Stepn NFTs Available on iOS, with Apple Tax to Pay

Stepn, a mobile “move-to-earn” game that rewards players with crypto tokens for walking and running with specialized NFTs, has launched an in-app marketplace for NFT sales within its iOS app for Apple’s iPhone, integrating Apple Pay for purchases using credit and debit cards while abstracting away the crypto elements and bundling in the extra fees in the process.

Stepn, a mobile “move-to-earn” game that bonus players with cryptocurrency crypto tokens for walking and running with specialized Non-Fungible Token (NFTs), has launched an in- application marketplace for NFT sales within its iOS application for Apple’s iPhone. Furthermore, developer Find Satoshi Lab has integrated Apple Pay for purchases using credit and debit cards.

Mobile applications typically do not allow for Non-Fungible Token (NFT) purchases on the secondary market as a result of the complexities introduced by Apple and Google charging a 30 percent fee on most in- application purchases. That includes Non-Fungible Token (NFTs), which means application developers would either must charge users that extra fee to transact on mobile, or otherwise eat the fee as part of the expense of doing business.

Stepn has done the previous here, but in a way that abstracts away the cryptocurrency elements and bundles in the extra charges in the procedure. In this case, Stepn has made it possible for users to buy Non-Fungible Token (NFT) sneakers—which enable users to earn crypto token rewards—through the application via a new in- application currency was known Sparks, which is not a cryptocurrency.

Users can buy bundles of Sparks through the Stepn application (via Apple Pay) and then use them to buy the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) sneakers, with zero interactions with digital currency along the way. On the other hand, the prices in Sparks are considerably higher in converted United States dollars than when purchasing the exact same items via the web marketplace using Stepn’s own GMT cryptocurrency token.

For instance, a particular pair of sneakers was listed for 110 GMT this morning, or about $31.40 according to the price of GMT at the time per CoinGecko. Buying the same Non-Fungible Token (NFT) via the iOS application would cost $44.60 worth of Stepn Sparks at the fixed value of $0.10 per Spark (446 Sparks). That’s a 42 percent increase. Another direct comparison for a different Non-Fungible Token (NFT) purchased through both scenarios showed a nearly 43 percent difference.

Stepn Chief Operating Officer Shiti Manghani confirmed to Decrypt that the price shown in the iOS application is inclusive of charges that Find Satoshi Lab handles as part of the procedure of users buying Non-Fungible Token (NFTs) through the application. Stepn has minted Non-Fungible Token (NFTs) across Solana (SOL) Ethereum (ETH), and BNB Chain.

“In compliance with Apple’s policies, each in- application buy is subject to taxation,” Stepn’s official FAQ states. “ This is why, when using Spark credits to buy a sneaker, you may notice a price difference. This adjustment ensures adherence to the necessary regulations and reflects the added taxation.”

If someone sells a pair of Non-Fungible Token (NFT) shoes through the Stepn marketplace and it’s purchased by an iOS user, then Find Satoshi Lab will pay the seller the listed price in GMT crypto tokens, with the remaining balance in Sparks (which were purchased from Stepn) then used to cover fees.

Apple’s 30 percent cut of in- application purchases—and potential other charges in the mix around offering in- application currencies and handling credit card payments—have been a sticking point for decentralized application (dapp) developers. Typically, Non-Fungible Token (NFT) marketplaces charge a much smaller platform fee for handling transactions— for instance, OpenSea charges 2.5 percent of the sale price for trades.

Several applications have simply decided not to enable in- application Non-Fungible Token (NFT) trades, such as Non-Fungible Token (NFT) marketplace Magic Eden and the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) monster-battling game Axie Infinity, which just rolled out its “lite” iOS application past week without Non-Fungible Token (NFT) trading capabilities. In the meantime, NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs stated this year that it hoped to find a solution to enable in- application Non-Fungible Token (NFT) trades in the future.

Apple’s policy hasn’t changed here, it appears. Instead, Stepn found a way to work within the regulations, devising a way to enable trades at a higher cost to users by using a new in- application currency and packaging in the charges for buyers. Decrypt reached out to Apple for clarification on its policies, but did not instantly hear back.

It remains to be seen whether convenience outweighs the hassle of making users go to the web marketplace and handle digital currency instead. Web2 applications have had to navigate this dilemma in the past, including Twitter and its Blue subscription service—which prompted owner and CEO Elon Musk (Tesla & SpaceX CEO) to complain about Apple’s cut and in the end raise the price of subscriptions on iOS.

Apple as of now prohibits applications from sending users to an external web portal to pay for a service, or accept external payments, although legal challenges may force the tech giant to open up.

Still, Manghani stated that Apple’s substantial reach makes this effort—and the higher prices for users—worthwhile as Non-Fungible Token (NFT) application builders try to figure out how to play nice with Web2 platforms. She stated the Apple Pay integration in particular  as “a giant step forward” as Stepn intends to onboard 100 Million more users into Web3.

Apple’s enormous scale “comes a huge responsibility to its users,” Manghani stated, “especially in a space now infamous for scams the size of FTX to daily rug pulls. So the caution they exercise here is understandable.”

“ This is why, as a business, we are greater than excited to comply with their [regulations] and build relentlessly [based on] their feedback to enable genuine user adoption from Web2,” she added. “This has been the cornerstone of our growth and fruitful collaboration.”


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