After Apple released its fee-less Apple Card earlier this year, pundits wondered if the offering would disrupt banks. Now we know the company is observing another disruptive though external innovation: cryptocurrencies.
On September 5th, Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey told CNN at a private San Francisco event that the company’s leadership thought the tech showed promise for the future. The VP said:
“We’re watching cryptocurrency […] We think it’s interesting. We think it has interesting long-term potential, but we’re primarily focused on what consumers are using today.”
The comments immediately caused waves within the cryptoeconomy, where many stakeholders were surprised that a top Apple executive would make forthright remarks on the insurgent payments tech — especially when the company has its own growing Apple Pay service to mind.
Moreover, the comments are notable because Apple simply hasn’t said much publicly on cryptocurrencies to date, unlike some of the company’s largest tech peers — namely Facebook and Google. Apple has done things like add support for the bitcoin “BTC” symbol to its popular mobile devices, but it’s also prohibited cryptocurrencies from being purchased via its proprietary Apple Card — at least for now.
In any case, the company appears open-minded in the long run. And Bailey noted that alternative cryptocurrency payment rails are only going to evolve further as time goes on.
“If you look at QR code payment solutions, if you look at the long-term potential of cryptocurrency, I think you’ll continue to see that change over time,” she said.
FAANG: Crypto Gamechangers?
FAANG — or Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google — is an acronym for some of the world’s most popular tech stocks. Thus it’s no small thing that some of these companies are increasingly flirting with and working on cryptocurrency tech.
The question is, which FAANG company is not?! https://t.co/gnT9WvDxCU
— Tyler Winklevoss (@tylerwinklevoss) September 5, 2019
For one, there’s Amazon. The company isn’t at the front of the FAANG pack when it comes to cryptocurrency, but the heavyweight brand has rolled out blockchain services in its AWS cloud computing arm. Who knows what could come later?
Elements of Google have been openly experimenting in the fledgling ecosystem. Earlier this year, the Google Cloud team outlined the concept of building hybrid blockchain-cloud dApps using Ethereum, Chainlink’s oracle tech, and Google’s serverless BigQuery platform.
And of course the largest player in the field so far has been Facebook, which caused international regulatory shockwaves this summer after unveiling its planned Libra stablecoin. Set to be backed by an association of 100 members including the likes of Visa, Mastercard, and beyond, the Libra has the potential to reach more than a billion users if Facebook can successfully navigate the project’s already stormy adolescence.
For its part, Netflix doesn’t appear to have any direct cryptocurrency plans so far beyond producing crypto documentary materials. But those materials can reach a lot of people through its platform, so the influence factor is still there.
The grand point here? FAANG’s collective approaches to the space in the coming decade could end up becoming one of the biggest threads in the early history of the cryptoeconomy.
Crypto Opens Up New Revenue Possibilities for Apple
It’s no secret that Apple has recently been trying to diversify its revenue options.
For instance, iPhone sales dropped 12 percent in the second quarter of 2019. New offerings like the Apple Card help in the company’s diversification efforts, but what if the Apple Card isn’t enough by itself?
Making the leap into the cryptocurrency realm could help in that regard, Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives told CNN.
“Given where Apple strategically is focused, a move into crypto could make sense given its sights on further monetizing its consumers over the coming years,” Ives said.