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Google unveils NFT policy for Play Store as token interest wanes

Google’s decision to allow developers to expand the ways nonfungible tokens can be used in their games on the Play Store was met with a collective sigh of relief on crypto Twitter.

NFT investors, who have for months watched the prices of their collections fall and interest in this colorful corner of the digital-asset market wane, see the changes in Google’s policy as a sign that the market is not dead yet.

“We’re so back,” said Kyle McCollom, a co-founder at a Brooklyn-based crypto startup.

ALSO READ | Meta to shut down testing NFTs on Instagram, Facebook

“You thought NFTs were dead?” tweeted Daniel Borovik, creator of multiple collections listed on OpenSea, the largest marketplace by volume for nonfungible tokens.

In a blog post published Wednesday, Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it will allow developers to offer games where players can buy, sell and earn tokenised digital assets—like nonfungible tokens—subject to specific guidelines.

Plummeting values
NFTs once ranked among the crypto industry’s hottest assets, attracting the attention of celebrities like Madonna, Justin Bieber and superstar DJ Steve Aoki.

But in the months since the collapse of FTX, the digital assets most closely associated with cartoonish pictures of apes have since seen their value and popularity plummet. Monthly global sales volumes for NFTs fell 38% to $653 million in June compared with the same period last year, according to blockchain data provider CryptoSlam.

Google has had a mixed strategy on blockchain and crypto: Google Play still bans crypto mining apps from its marketplace, while Google Cloud in 2021 teamed up with Dapper Labs, the creator of the NBA Top Shot digital collectibles.

The move to clarify its policies also further aligns Google with main rival Apple Inc., which introduced new App Store guidelines in October on crypto trading, as well as on the use of NFTs within apps and games. Both Google and Apple have been lambasted by the crypto and gaming industries for high fees on in-app transactions.

Brian Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of crypto exchange Coinbase, publicly criticised Apple last year over these in-app transaction rules, citing their “app store monopoly.”

Google Play’s updated guidelines, which go into effect December 7, say that games can support transactions involving tokenized assets under the platform’s existing Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy. Developers will have to follow specific rules, such as ensuring that the value of an NFT is made clear to a player at the time of purchase. Bloomberg

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