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Google Play Introduces New Policy Update for Blockchain-based Content

Google will start trialling a new mobile marketplace policy update this summer to give users increased transparency and protection when transacting with blockchain-based content.

Google Play policy blockchain NFT

Google is rolling out a new marketplace policy update for apps that enable users to transact with blockchain-based content, including the games that incorporate and promote NFTs. The policies will be effective from December 7 this year.

The tech giant hopes to increase user protection and improve transparency while beating the competition as the go-to app store for blockchain-based projects to find their crowd.

The new marketplace guidelines will require developers to clearly indicate whether their projects relate to blockchain-based financial activity. If so, such as in the case of crypto exchanges and wallets, they will be required to abide by the crypto legislation of the territories where they intend to make their applications available. Furthermore, to protect new crypto and blockchain users, Google will prohibit promoting or “glamorising” potential earnings, and any transactions will have to go through a regulated exchange.

Google Play will prohibit applications that mine (or to be more correct, pretend to mine) cryptocurrency on devices, while the apps that remotely manage cryptocurrency mining will be permitted.

For NFTs, only companies registered as gambling, games, and contest apps, and following the Real-Money Gambling, Games and Contests policy will be allowed to incorporate and promote NFTs in their apps.

The forthcoming update effectively treats all digital collectibles as gaming assets. Yet this will still be a temporary solution, as Joseph Mills, Google’s product manager, stated that Google will continue working with industry partners to further develop a blockchain-based mobile apps policy framework.

Despite it consisting primarily of restrictions, the new policy seems to please market players. To Matt Williamson, Senior Engineering Manager at Reddit, this move is essential to establish a “level playing field that promotes user trust and responsible usage of blockchain technology.”

In the past, Google has been criticized for its black-box approach to restrictions imposed on blockchain-based apps, but from now on, developers will enjoy a set of clear guidelines to follow. John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games, believes it will “positively impact the adoption of new technology while also protecting consumers.”

In a blog post published on July 12, Joseph Mills announced that by changing its policy, the group intends to “open new ways to transact blockchain-based digital content within apps and games on Google Play. From reimagining traditional games with user-owned content to boosting user loyalty through unique NFT rewards, we’re excited to see creative in-app experiences flourish and help developers expand their businesses.”

The move puts pressure on Google Store’s greatest competitor - the Apple Store. Last October, a new Apple policy on NFTs was met with severe criticism as it forbade external links to buying assets, forcing it to happen on its servers which effectively means the company gets a 30% cut of each transaction.

Apple might feel compelled to change its policy with its rival stepping in with a more blockchain-friendly stance. For now, Google has the first-mover advantage. A team of developers is already working on implementing the first policy-oriented changes, which users will begin to see by the end of the summer.