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Tim Cook Gets Stinging Letter From Congressman About NFTs, Blockchain: Are Apple’s Policies Limiting Innovation, Tech Leadership?

In a bipartisan effort, Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL

In a bipartisan effort, Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL.), who serve as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee, have taken action to address concerns about Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store Guidelines and their potential impact on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technologies.

Tim Cook (C), CEO of Apple, walks with fellow attendees as they leave a morning session at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 12, 2023, in Sun Valley, Idaho. (KEVIN DIETSCH/GETTY IMAGES) 

In a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the lawmakers on Friday raised concerns about how these guidelines may restrict the development and integration of technologies like blockchain, NFTs, and distributed ledger technologies.

This follows a previous letter sent by Bilirakis and Schakowsky to Apple in November 2022, focusing on potential security vulnerabilities and foreign surveillance related to apps originating from China, including TikTok.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew previously testified before Congress about the privacy suspicion that the Chinese government had obtained access from Byte Dance, parent company of TikTok, of the privacy information of Americans. 

“While Apple has argued these limitations increase security by creating a walled garden, many are concerned that Apple has used the app store as a weapon against competitors,” said Chairman Bilirakis and Ranking Member Schakowsky in a joint press release.

In this photo illustration a NFT logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen and an Exchange graph on a MacBook screen in Athens, Greece on June 2, 2023. Lawmakers had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook in regard to concerns of blockchain and NFT. (NIKOLAS KOKOVLIS/GETTY IMAGES)  

One of the questions posed in the letter asks whether Apple has plans to develop apps utilizing blockchain or related technologies, indicating a keen interest in understanding Apple’s approach to emerging tech and whether they are open to exploring these avenues within their ecosystem.

NFTs are unique digital assets that are stored on blockchain networks, such as Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) and Polygon (CRYPTO: MATIC). They have gained popularity for their ability to represent ownership of one-of-a-kind items like artwork, collectibles, and virtual real estate.

The notion of NFTs has been popular concept among celebrities and major entrepreneurs for the purpose of intellectual property rights.

Produced in association with Benzinga

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