On March 25th, tech powerhouse Apple announced a slew of new high-profile services and accordingly caused an immediate media storm. One of these ventures was the Apple Card — a re-envisioning of the mainstream credit card experience — that’s due out this summer.
Waves quickly reached the crypto ecosystem upon the announcement. Apple marketed the release with digs at the very banking industry that cryptocurrencies have risen up against as fledgling and experimental insurgents.
Some pundits have already crowned the Apple Card as the latest mainstream challenge to cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, some cryptoverse proponents have said the unfurling crypto vs. Apple Card narrative is a decidedly “apples and oranges” affair.
Here’s a quick primer and a few topical considerations however you approach the conversation.
The Apple Card: What’s It All About
Created in collaboration with Goldman Sachs, the fee-less Apple Card will serve as an extension of the iOS Wallet app.
The associated titanium card eschews card numbers and CVV codes, as these types of information will be managed in-app. As for incentives, users of the Apple Card will be able to receive daily cash-back rewards of two percent on each purchase made via Apple Pay.
Apple Card is a major game changer and disrupts both the old guard and the new fintechs
– Makes “banks” just another app on the phone
– Beautiful Titanium card to use in person plus wherever Apple Pay is accepted
– Enhanced and clean analytics
– Rewards: Daily 2% cash back pic.twitter.com/ytbh2iUCLC
— Varun (@varun_mathur) March 25, 2019
Moreover, the Apple Card is being billed as highly private and highly secure. Apple has said associated payment details will be isolated to users’ devices so that this data can’t be leaked to others:
“Apple Card is designed to make sure you’re the only one who can use it. All the advanced security technologies of Apple Pay — Face ID, Touch ID, unique transaction codes — are built right in. And the physical card has no numbers. Not on the front. Not on the back. Which gives you a whole new level of security.”
As such, Apple CEO Tim Cook hailed the project as “the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years.” Considering Apple’s sheer size and the context of the payments arena, what’s the Apple Card mean for the cryptocurrency space then?
Not a Crypto Competitor?
First off, some have already argued that the Apple Card is a poor competitor to existing mainstream reward card programs, so there’s that.
The massive iPhone user base will undoubtedly bring in lots of users, but if enough people stick with other more lucrative cards, the Apple Card may not become the undisputed payments heavyweight that its proponents have already hailed it as.
Hello – I’m catching up to Apple stuff and have 0 idea why the credit card makes any sense? It’s a bad credit card compared to the rewards you get with other cards (especially if you travel at all)
— Nikhil Krishnan (@nikillinit) March 26, 2019
As for cryptocurrencies, they derive from the cypherpunk lineage and thus are aimed at completely different possibilities than what credit cards are capable of actualizing — possibilities like immutability, decentralization, extreme privacy guarantees, smart contracts, and so forth.
If you think the apple card competes with bitcoin then you still don't get it 🤷♂️
— Matt Odell (@matt_odell) March 25, 2019
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) are multi-disciplinary, open-source experiments at the threshold of society and money and that already serve as alternative currencies in the here and now. Apple Card is the latest financial service from one of the world’s biggest companies.
Both thrusts have their place in today’s world, but they’re coming from entirely different places and toward entirely different things. Look no further than the ETH 2.0 specification to see that it bodes what can be characterized as an advanced alien future compared to the possibilities of contemporary mainstream finance.
Crypto is aimed at the long-term and the bigger picture.
If Anything, Learn from the Master
User experience (UX) and user interfaces (UI) are hot topics in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, namely because of the deficit of mature UX and UI in the fledgling space.
Conversely, Apple has been hailed as UX and UI masters. So even if Apple Card becomes the bar to beat, its UX will be a great bar to strive for. Cryptocurrency-based solutions that can come to match Apple’s UX will be solutions that are built for the long haul.
Why add a designer into the mix? I believe this is an underfunded area in the crypto ecosystem. Great design will help more people access this technology faster and better. And we want to see more work to educate, like this: https://t.co/3hBdEDLk3e
— jack (@jack) March 20, 2019
Indeed, the importance of design was highlighted by Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey last week when he emphasized that Square Crypto was hiring a designer.
“Great design will help more people access this technology faster and better,” he said.