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12 July 2023

Enabling New Blockchain-Based Experiences on Google Play

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Posted by Joseph Mills, Group Product Manager, Google Play

As a platform, we always want to help developers bring innovative ideas to life. Google Play hosts a variety of blockchain related apps, and we know that our partners are excited to expand on these offerings to create more engaging and immersive digital experiences with tokenized digital assets such as NFTs. Like with any emerging technology, we must balance innovation with our responsibility to protect users. So, we’ve spoken with developers about responsibly supporting those opportunities while continuing to provide a safe, transparent, and trusted experience for everyone.

Today, we’re pleased to share that we’re updating our policy 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.

Keeping Users Protected While Fostering Innovation

As blockchain technology continues to evolve, maintaining user trust is paramount. As part of the policy update, we’re requiring that apps be transparent with users about tokenized digital assets. For example, if an app or game sells or enables users to earn tokenized digital assets, developers must declare this clearly. And while tokenized assets are meant to build more enriched, immersive experiences, as an added user protection, developers may not promote or glamorize any potential earning from playing or trading activities.

In line with Google Play’s Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy, apps that have not met gambling eligibility requirements cannot accept money for a chance to win assets of unknown real-world monetary value, including NFTs. For example, developers should not offer purchases where the value of the NFT users receive is not clear at the time of purchase. This includes, but is not limited to, offering mechanisms to receive randomized blockchain-based items from a purchase such as “loot boxes”.

Unlocking Innovation Across the Industry

Google Play succeeds when our partners succeed. These new guidelines were developed in close consultation with app and game developers and incorporates their feedback on how we can continue to support their businesses.

"We really appreciate Google's partnership in this collaborative effort to bring about innovation in this space and move these new economies forward. We think these new policies are steps forward for both players and developers alike and will positively impact the adoption of new technology while also protecting consumers."

– John Linden, CEO, Mythical Games

"At Reddit we believe in empowering our users by providing transparency and a responsible approach to blockchain-based digital content – like our Collectible Avatars. We partnered with Google to help update their policy, aimed at creating a level playing field that promotes user trust, and responsible usage of blockchain technology. By setting clear guidelines, we can ensure that our users make informed decisions while enjoying immersive experiences."

– Matt Williamson, Senior Engineering Manager, Reddit

Looking Ahead to Future Opportunities

We will continue to engage with developers to understand their challenges and opportunities — and how we can best support them in building sustainable businesses using blockchain technology. As a next step, we’re talking to industry partners about further improving our support of blockchain-based app experiences, including in areas such as secondary markets.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime, we’re excited to see how today’s blockchain policy announcement brings more fun and delight to apps and games across Google Play.

For more on the blockchain policy and other changes announced today: