A few weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook made headlines when he said he personally owns cryptocurrency while noting that Apple views it from a technical perspective, but not through a Treasury decision. What will Apple do with bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
It’s something we look forward to, not something we have immediate plans to do. I would describe it as there are things I don’t like about our cash balance. I wouldn’t go and invest that in crypto not because I wouldn’t invest my own money in crypto, but because I don’t think people buy Apple shares for exposure to cryptocurrencies. So if they want to do that, they can, you know, invest directly in cryptocurrencies through other means. So I won’t do that. I do not plan in the near future to take cryptocurrency for our products. As kind of giving, but there are other things to look at for sure.
During the interview, Cook revealed that he owns cryptocurrency, saying, “It makes sense to own it as part of a diversified portfolio,” while also noting that he “is not giving investment advice to anyone.” However, Cook did not say if he owns Bitcoin or another particular type of cryptocurrency.
What will Apple do with cryptocurrency?
Apple has plans for its retail financial arm. Apple Pay allows people to send money in certain jurisdictions via iMessage. It also has Apple Wallet and Apple Pay services associated with mobile payments. Apple wants to grow its services business, and cutting out banking is an ideal way to do that. What does this have to do with cryptocurrency?
I think Apple will create a Bitcoin wallet directly in Apple Wallet soon while also allowing a low cost way to buy Bitcoin on iPhone.
With Bitcoin wallets – where you retain full control of your bitcoins and move them from an exchange like Coinbase – you are responsible for securing your wallet with a seed. Personally, I would recommend using a couple of Trezor or Ledger hardware wallets with a multitasking vault with a company like Unchained Capital to eliminate single points of failure in your Bitcoin wallets. I also recommend using a steel wallet like billfodl to secure the initial ferry in the event of a hardware failure.
For newcomers to Bitcoin, this whole process can seem confusing, which is why I think Apple might approach it in two ways:
- It works like a stock exchange
- Set up a software wallet with an iCloud backup of the initial gateway
- Use Bitcoin Lightning Network for Apple Pay Cash
If Apple operates as a Bitcoin exchange, it will allow you to buy Bitcoin directly in the Apple Wallet app using any payment methods you have on file. They’ll let you store your belongings in Apple Wallet while Apple itself keeps the keys. It will look a lot like the Cash App or Coinbase, where you can send, receive and store Bitcoin without having to store your initial phrase.
If Apple creates a software wallet directly on the iPhone, it will likely look similar to BlueWallet, where you take self-guardianship of your Bitcoin with a backup of the initial gateway. You will own the Bitcoin keys directly on your iPhone and will be responsible for backing up the initial gateway. If Apple goes this route, I believe it will create an encrypted iCloud backup of your initial gateway.
Finally, Strike is a company I can see Apple partnering with on global Apple Pay Cash transactions. Twitter is already working with the company to service tipping. Strike does a few things that may be of interest to Apple:
- There are no fee options for buying bitcoin
- Send money to anyone in the world they work in
The global payment system is accomplished using Bitcoin as a transaction medium. If I want to send money to someone in another country, I enter dollars, convert them to Bitcoin and convert them back to the local currency when I receive them. It sounds simple, but it is a very revolutionary way to process payments globally for free.
Why would Apple do anything with bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
In the end, Bitcoin has become a huge force to be reckoned with in our world. With limited supply, decentralization, and digitization of our financial system, it will likely continue to play an important role as a digital gold and global settlement network. Apple does not want to miss a massive shift in technology as it seeks to increase services revenue and become a significant player in the financial services industry.
It is also possible that Apple will use Bitcoin as a transaction layer with its online store when the company is concerned about the stability of the local currency as we saw recently in Turkey.
How does Bitcoin work with Apple’s focus on green energy?
Bitcoin’s energy use is a popular debate among its critics. While there’s a lot more to unpack here, I’ve found the video I’ve included below is a great resource for explaining how there is more discussion about Bitcoin and energy use than most people would lead you to believe.
tl; D.W.: The Bitcoin network uses less energy than Christmas lights in the US.
What do you think Apple will do with bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Leave a comment below! Interested in learning how to buy bitcoin? We have put together a detailed guide on the best apps to buy Bitcoin on your iPhone
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