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Google is spelling out rules for blockchain-based apps on Android

Google is spelling out rules for blockchain-based apps on Android


Blockchain-based ‘loot boxes’ are banned.

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An illustration of the Google logo.
Illustration: The Verge

Google is introducing a new blockchain-based content policy for Android apps on the Google Play Store. The new policy, which will be effective on December 7th, covers things like cryptocurrency exchanges and software wallets, transparency requirements, and rules for NFT gamification that would cover things like loot boxes.

According to the new policy for tokenized digital assets secured on a blockchain:

  • Crypto exchanges and software wallets must comply with applicable regulations in the regions they target, and the “purchase, holding, or exchange of cryptocurrencies should be conducted through certified services in regulated jurisdictions.” Google says it may request additional information from developers to prove their compliance with rules or regulations.
  • Any apps that sell or let users earn tokenized digital assets will have to clear that they do so, Google says. As part of this, developers “may not promote or glamorize any potential earning from playing or trading activities.”
  • Any gambling apps that integrate digital assets like NFTs will need to complete Google’s special application process. For apps that don’t meet Google’s gambling app requirements, money cannot be accepted in exchange for “a chance to obtain an NFT of unknown value,” and NFTs can’t be used in wagers to try and win real-world money prizes.

The content policy also includes a ban on on-device crypto mining, but that was already in place; it’s just being moved from the financial services section of Google’s rules.

The new blockchain-focused updates are just a few of the additions to the company’s Google Play policies. For example, any app that offers financial features must submit a “financial features declaration form.” And Google is updating its “deceptive behavior” policy to say that an app’s functionality should be “reasonably clear” to users and that developers shouldn’t include “any hidden, dormant, or undocumented features within your app.”