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Tim Cook said Apple is looking at cryptocurrency – Here’s what the company is likely to do – 9to5Mac

Today
Bradley Chambers
– Dec. 28th 2021 6:00 am PT


A few weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook made headlines when he said he personally owns cryptocurrency while mentioning that Apple is looking at it from a technology perspective, but not from a treasury decision. What will Apple do with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency?

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It’s something we are looking at, it’s not something we have immediate plans to do. I would characterize it as there are things that I would not do like our cash balance. I would not go and invest that in crypto not because I would not invest my own money in crypto, but because I don’t think people buy Apple stock to get exposure to crypto. So if they want to do that, they can, you know, invest directly in crypto through other means. And so I would not do that. I’m not planning to in the immediate future to take crypto for our products. As a mane of tender, but there are other things that we are definitely looking at.
During the interview, Cook revealed that he owns cryptocurrency, saying “it’s reasonable to own it as a part of a diversified portfolio,” while also noting that he’s “not giving anybody investment advice.” However, Cook didn’t mention if he owns Bitcoin or another particular type of cryptocurrency.
Apple has plans for its retail financial arm. Its Apple Pay service allows people to send money in particular jurisdictions over iMessage. It also has its Apple Wallet app and associated Apple Pay services for mobile payments. Apple wants to grow its services business, and siphoning off banking services is an ideal way to do it. What does this have to do with cryptocurrency?
I believe that Apple will build a Bitcoin wallet directly into Apple Wallet shortly while also allowing for a low-cost way to purchase Bitcoin on iPhone.
With Bitcoin wallets – where you maintain full control of your bitcoin and move it off an exchange like Coinbase –you are responsible for securing your wallet with a seed phrase. I personally reccomend using a couple of Trezor or Ledger hardware wallets with a multisig vault with a company like Unchained Capital to eliminate single points of failure with your Bitcoin wallets. I also recommend using a steel wallet like billfodl for securing your seed phrase in case of hardware failure.
For newcomers to Bitcoin, this whole process might seem overwhelming, which is why I think Apple might approach it in a couple of ways:
If Apple operates as a Bitcoin exchange, they’ll let you buy bitcoin directly in the Apple Wallet app using whatever payment methods you have on file. They’ll allow you to store your holdings in Apple Wallet while Apple itself will retain the keys. It’ll look a lot like what Cash App or Coinbase does, where you can send, receive, and store Bitcoin without needing to store your seed phrase.
If Apple sets up a software wallet directly on iPhone, it’ll likely look similar to BlueWallet, where you take self custody of your Bitcoin with a seed phrase backup. You’ll own the keys to your Bitcoin directly on your iPhone and be responsible for backing up the seed phrase. If Apple goes this route, I suspect they’ll build in an encrypted iCloud backup of your seed phrase that’s tied to multi factor authentication in such a way where only you can decrypt it. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.
Finally, Strike is a company I could see Apple partnering with for global Apple Pay Cash transactions. Twitter is already working with the company for its tipping service. Strike does a couple of things that could be of interest to Apple:
It accomplishes the global payment system using Bitcoin as the transaction medium. If I want to send someone in another country money, I input dollars, it converts it to Bitcoin and converts it back to local currency when received. It sounds simple, but it’s a pretty revolutionary way to process payments globally for free.
I just published Announcing the Strike API
Today, @Twitter enables free, instant, global payments for their users with their integration of the Strike API.
What the internet did for communication, #Bitcoin + the Lightning Network is doing for money.https://t.co/jHkY6knXkP pic.twitter.com/FXujknG7sM
— Jack Mallers (@jackmallers) September 23, 2021

Ultimately, Bitcoin is becoming a significant force to be reckoned with in our world. With a finite supply, decentralization, and digitization of our financial system, it’s likely to continue to play a significant role as digital gold and global settlement network. Apple doesn’t want to miss a massive shift in technology as it seeks to drive services revenue and become a significant player in the financial services industry.
It’s also possible 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.
Bitcoin’s energy usage is a common discussion among its critics. While there is a lot to unpack here, I’ve found the video I’ve embedded below to be a great resource to explain how there’s more to the discussion about Bitcoin and energy usage than most people would lead you to believe.
TL;DW: The Bitcoin network uses less energy than the use of 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’ve put together a detailed guide on the best apps for buying Bitcoin on your iPhone
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Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.
Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.
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