In a ground-breaking move, Google has spelled out a new blockchain-content policy for Android applications on its Play Store. The policy, effective from December 7th, governs various domains such as cryptocurrency exchanges, software wallets, transparency norms, and Non-Fungible Token (NFT) gamification rules, effectively banning blockchain-based ‘loot boxes’.
According to the updated policy for tokenized digital assets on a blockchain:
- Cryptocurrency Regulations: Crypto exchanges and software wallets need to abide by the rules of the regions they target. Activities involving purchasing, holding, or exchanging cryptocurrencies must be conducted via certified services in regulated jurisdictions. Google may seek additional information from developers to verify their rule adherence.
- Tokenized Digital Asset Sale Disclosure: Apps dealing with the sale or earning of tokenized digital assets must clarify their intentions. Developers are forbidden from promoting or glorifying potential earnings derived from playing or trading activities.
- Gambling Apps and NFTs: Gambling applications integrating digital assets like NFTs must undergo Google's special application process. For apps falling short of Google’s gambling app requirements, the exchange of money for a chance to obtain an NFT of unknown value is not permissible. Furthermore, using NFTs in wagers to win real-world cash prizes is disallowed.
The updated policy also reiterates the pre-existing ban on on-device crypto mining, moving this rule from the financial services section.
These blockchain-focused modifications form part of a broader update to Google's Play policies. Apps offering financial features must submit a "financial features declaration form". Google is also refining its “deceptive behavior” policy, mandating app functionalities be "reasonably clear" to users and barring developers from incorporating "hidden, dormant, or undocumented features within your app".
This move to outline clear rules for blockchain-based apps is a notable step in Google's effort to regulate the expanding digital landscape, providing clearer guidelines for developers and safer practices for users.