apple (AAPL -0.14%) is one of the most valuable companies in the entire world. Its embrace of innovation underpins almost every development and technology it releases to the world. The tech giant has recently focused on developing its own financial ecosystem.
Apple device users are likely aware of these upgrades as they have been released in software updates over the past few years. The company’s first move into the financial area came when Apple released Apple Pay in 2014.
Apple Pay provides the basis for all its users of financial services, such as customers and merchants, to stay in touch with each other. With Apple Pay, users can pay for items without having to scroll through a wallet. Instead, they can tap their phone or smart watch on the credit card terminals for payment.
This was just the beginning of Apple’s financial endeavours. The company released the Apple Cash feature in 2017. With Apple Cash, the tech giant took a dive into the peer-to-peer electronic payment field, which was dominated by the likes of PayPalis Venmo or Blockits CashApp. Now iPhone users can send money to each other through a simple text message.
Eventually, Apple even issued its own credit card. Known as the Apple Card, Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs and MasterCard to offer Apple users their own credit options. Apple Cardholders received a generous rewards program that offers 2% daily cashback on all purchases and 3% cashback on any Apple product purchase.
Most recently, Apple announced the Apple Pay Later feature. This program allows users to split purchases into four different payments over the course of six weeks. It appears that the rise in popularity of similar products from companies such as Klarna and Affirm spurred Apple’s recent attempt.
Apple’s future for personal finance
Apple has a significant history of developing its financial ecosystem and continues to prioritize further investments in the private financial sector. But what could be next? enter Bitcoin (BTC -0.34%).
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, was asked last November if he owned any Bitcoin at the New York Times’ DealBook conference. Somewhat surprised, he replied that he actually owned some Bitcoin and had been interested in cryptocurrency “for a while.”
When you consider the path that Bitcoin has taken over the last decade and Apple’s pursuit of innovation in personal finance, you can imagine that this topic has probably been covered a lot in Cupertino at Apple’s headquarters.
Although nothing has been officially released, what would an Apple-Bitcoin integration look like? And more importantly, what would it mean for Bitcoin’s future?
Apple’s robust financial ecosystem provides an ideal basis for further development with Bitcoin. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine iPhone users having the ability to send Bitcoin to other users with just a text. As more companies begin to accept cryptocurrencies for payment, it also makes sense that consumers can use crypto to purchase everyday items with just a tap on a watch or phone.
Let’s say Apple took this next step and integrated with Bitcoin; it would be the most significant leap in adoption that the original cryptocurrency has ever received. Despite already integrating with other popular financial apps like Venmo and CashApp, a Bitcoin integration with Apple would instantly bring more than one billion iPhone users onto the Bitcoin blockchain.
If Bitcoin were to gain that kind of exposure, it would further strengthen its role in our increasingly digital world. Of course, most of this thinking is entirely speculative, but it is a valuable analysis. Current trends signal that to remain competitive, Apple (and many other tech companies) will have to find new ways to make Bitcoin more accessible or risk falling behind.
RJ Fulton has positions in Bitcoin. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple, Bitcoin, Block, Inc., Goldman Sachs, Mastercard and PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.