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So I know that I can use real money (ex. USD) to buy in app purchases that reward me with virtual currency - let's say "gold."

But is the opposite true? As a developer, can I allow my users to sell their gold back to me for a USD reward?

In particular, the following bullet point:

Apps may use in-app purchase currencies to enable customers to “tip” digital content providers in the app.

Seems to hint at that kind of transaction, but I don't know if my scenario falls under that description.

For a full scenario, consider the following:

Alice writes a blog post. She wants to put a paywall on it so she gets paid a small amount before anyone can read it. Alice charges 50 gold for anyone to read her blog post.

Bob sees her blog post on his feed. He goes to the in app store to purchase some gold, let's say 100 for $1.99. He then spends 50 gold to unlock the blog post.

Alice receives 50 gold from 30 different people, netting her 1500 gold. She then goes to my website and initiates a withdrawal. Alice makes, let's say, $10 from her 1500 gold and her balance is reset.

Can an app that does this make it past App Store review? Is it totally legal or do I have to follow some other regulations in the U.S. (other than the usual PCI-DSS, etc)?

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I don't see anything in the guidelines that would prevent you from making such an app. However, it is always best to check with Apple as they are the ones making the final decision.

There's no need for you to actually implement this as "buying back gold". You can just let users buy an in-app purchase that is "gold", that they can use to tip the content providers.

Then on your web site you can make a section where content providers can login to see how many times they have been tipped. This doesn't need to have anything to do with "gold" or in-app purchases or anything like that.

As you write that the withdrawal (payout) is made through your own web site, and not the app, this sounds perfectly doable.

As for legal issues, you need to contact a lawyer in your area. Laws are different in various countries, states, etc. and could depend on how you have incorporated, and other details. In particular you would probably want to ensure that everything is setup correctly in terms of taxing.

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