Elon Musk, Twitter, the entire city of Miami, and recently, the United States government. What do they all have in common? They’re all now into crypto.
Just last month, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order on crypto, which incorporates an objective of advancing the “U.S. competitiveness and leadership” in digital assets and crypto ecosystem. But if there’s one entity that is looked forward the most by the crypto community for support is Apple.
Here’s what to know so far about Apple and crypto
Perhaps one of the notable mention of crypto from Apple was in September 2019. when Apple Pay’s VP Jennifer Bailey said the company was “watching cryptocurrency” and strongly believes it has “interesting long-term potential.”
In February 2020, Apple hired Jeff Bronikowski, Warner Music’s former head of technology innovation, who was working on a number of the blockchain efforts to create digital assets using a public blockchain called Flow .
Then on November of 2021, when asked by Andrew Ross Sorkin of New York Times if Apple would consider accepting cryptocurrency through Apple Pay, Tim Cook replied that crypto is “something that we’re looking at.” The statement is broad, but regardless a positive statement.
In February of 2022, Apple unveiled its new Apple Pay feature that will enable millions of merchants across the U.S., to use their iPhones to seamlessly, instantly, and securely accept payments simply by tapping their iPhones. It’s called Tap To Pay and it can also be potentially used to transact crypto.
In late March of 2022, MetaMask, one of the most used crypto wallets, which has surpassed 30 million monthly active users as of January, has announced its support for Apple Pay so people can buy crypto directly from their wallets.
Around the same time MetaMask announced their Apple Pay integration, this job posting below for a Senior Legal Counsel position with expertise and experience on blockchain, digital assets, and payment platforms is seen on Apple’s website. Notice the timing of the job posting and the highlighted key qualification.
It’s also worth mentioning that Apple acquired UK-based fintech startup, Credit Kudos bringing a range of payment functions in-house. Among many other things, cryptocurrency can entirely change how people buy products, save or invest money, and pay their bills. Combining these with Apple’s platform, they have the potential to help billions of users have a frictionless banking and payment experience.
Is the Cupertino giant next in line to support crypto? Rumors and hints point in that direction, but there’s a bigger picture. Apple is in a unique and powerful position to best support crypto today. Here’s why.
Worldwide reach and cult-like following
Apple is a $2.7 trillion cap behemoth with more than 1 billion active iPhone users as of February of 2022. This means billions of people follow their software and hardware ecosystem and hundreds of thousands of people wait in excitement for their Keynote events and product releases. Though still in the early innings, there are strong signs that crypto and blockchain use cases are gaining prominence through mobile phones.
Specifically, Apple’s iPhone could be the key not only to onboard people into crypto, but to also help them understand the possibilities of transacting on a decentralized, permissionless, and transparent network. People will find it intriguing and enticing. The cool detail? People might not even need to know how crypto technology works behind the scenes.
The Cupertino company has a reputation for abstracting complex technologies into simple and easy to use products. This is one of the reasons why Apple has garnered a cult-like following over the decades in addition to their Oscar-worthy marketing and advertising efforts. This is the power of Apple.
If there’s one ecosystem that will accelerate crypto’s adoption, it will be Apple’s. How? Through seamless integrations through their products, worldwide reach, and cult-like following.
Privacy and security
Almost in every Keynote presentation, Apple CEO Tim Cook never fails to mention one important statement, “Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right” and they believe that users should have control of all of their data.
What does this mean for crypto? Well, crypto is all about privacy, security, and transparency. In the crypto world, people have control all over their assets and there are no middlemen in between. Apple can promise trust in transactions, account protection, and ease of use by reducing cost and time for consumers when they need access to the financial banking system. This means more market penetration while maintaining privacy, security, and transparency.
In addition, Clifford Rossi, an executive-in-residence and professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland’s Finance Department said that having a digital or crypto wallet and its own stable coin or a crypto pegged to the price of a fiat currency, could give Apple a competitive advantage over other retailers and will increase the competitive landscape of the personal banking and payment processing industry.
Another way Apple can help with crypto is the storing of private keys and seed phrases in iCloud tied with their multi-factor authentication. This will enhance the security of your sensitive crypto wallet information. Apple always does the right thing when it comes to the privacy and security of its users. The same goes for the crypto route.
Positive impact on the developing world
One popular use case of cryptocurrency is helping the ‘unbanked’ or people that are not served by financial institutions, gain to access to banking solutions which is common among developing nations. According to several statistics, nearly 2 billion people globally still have no access to financial services. That’s like one-fourth of the world population.
One day, people don’t have to go through a lengthy process just to apply for a bank account which requires a lot of documents to submit, which then can take weeks to get a result. Just imagine how hassle it will be if you’re in desperate need of money for emergency expenses. Cryptocurrency is giving people a chance to better their lives, increase their earnings, and stash savings for the future.
Apple dominates the world of tap and go payments and with more than $200 billion cash in hand, they could shake up the fintech world with an Apple Card expansion, checking accounts, international payments, and crypto wallets.
Cryptocurrency is giving people in less fortunate situations instant access to money with a click of a button. There’s no need to wait for days, no expensive fees, and no need to go through a lengthy bank application process. The majority of the financially excluded individuals still live in developing nations, so for financial inclusion, cryptocurrency adoption is essential.
Leading by design
One quality that makes Apple great as a company is that they approach problems through design thinking. This is the same for today and for the 1980s when Steve Jobs was revolutionizing personal computing. Through the decades, Apple has built a unique reputation as an extremely design-driven company.
For instance, they don’t refer to their users as “users”, but instead as “humans”. As highlighted in their human interface guidelines, which is a guideline adopted by people that work at Apple.
To that point, the current state of Web3 products has room for more design iterations due to a lackluster user experience design. This is due to the developers creating for other developers mindset and that the entire ecosystem is still in early-stage, which means there are a lot of changes.
It’s also worth highlighting that Apple always turns something that seems boring and dull into something fashionable and sexy. They did that with the personal computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and now maybe crypto.
If and when Apple does crypto, they have the potential to set an industry standard for Web3 design by applying their own touch of Apple design. For this reason, they’re in an even stronger position to bring millions of people into crypto and even educate people about the entire Web3 ecosystem.
Should we expect any crypto-related announcement from them anytime soon? As Tim Cook said, Apple thrives in its culture of secrecy, so less likely. However, we know one thing for sure, Apple never backs down on innovations that have the range to change people’s lives for the better.