Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple, told CNN that her company is “watching cryptocurrency” during a private event in San Francisco. “We think it’s interesting. We think it has interesting long-term potential.”
Bailey also spoke about digital currencies as part of a talk on the future of the digital payments industry and Apple’s push to get further into it. In August, the company released the Apple Card, a credit card created through a collaboration with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard. The card represents the company’s first major consumer finance-related initiative since the launch of Apple Pay in 2014.
While Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said to CNN that Apple’s potential entry into crypto would be “a major shot in the arm” for the industry–indeed, Apple’s market cap is currently five times the size of Bitcoin’s ($188 billion.)
However, the company seems to be far off from announcing any specific products or services related to cryptocurrency: while the remark does indicate that Apple is looking at crypto with an open mind, there is no indication that the company will ever choose to engage with crypto itself. Still, Ives also said that the company’s interest in cryptocurrency “could make sense given its sights on further monetizing its consumers.”
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Indeed, Business Insider reported that “the introduction of finance products would fall in line with Apple’s continued push into service revenue growth.” Service revenue already generate more than 20 percent of Apple’s quarterly income, with products like Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ slated to grow that revenue even further.
Big tech steps into crypto
Apple may eventually join the growing trend of big tech companies entering into the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. In June, Facebook announced the launch of Libra, a global cryptocurrency project scheduled for release in 2020. However, the launch may be delayed or canceled completely due to intense regulatory scrutiny.
Payment processing firm Square a bitcoin trading service accessible through the Square Cash app in January 2018. Square CEO Jack Dorsey (who also happens to be the CEO of Twitter) Tweeted in March that Square was seeking to hire developers to work on building and improving the Bitcoin ecosystem.
A number of cell phone manufacturers, including Samsung, have forayed into the cryptosphere with phones that are specially equipped with cryptocurrency wallets.