Inside money, markets, and big tech

Has Apple changed its tack towards cryptocurrency?

There's not enough information to say for sure

apple, bitcoin, cryptocurrency

Early last month, Apple’s VP referred to cryptocurrency as “interesting” and said the company was keeping an eye on it. But it seems the company might be changing its tact when it comes to the digital assets.

Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with French outlet Les Echos: “No. I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries. I’m not comfortable with the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency.”

“A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way,” he added.

Last month, VP Jennifer Bailey also said Apple thought cryptocurrency had “interesting long-term potential.”

Some outlets are reporting that Cook’s outburst means Apple won’t ever launch a cryptocurrency, but I don’t think it’s so clear cut yet. The wording and semantics are important here.

Tim Cook is saying that Apple won’t launch a currency or cryptocurrency that competes with conventional fiat or government-based currencies. This still leaves opportunity for tokens or other forms of cryptocurrency-based transactions. Perhaps cryptographically secured loyalty tokens.

This is just speculation, but think about Facebook‘s Libra.

Whilst it’s being dragged across the regulatory coals at the moment, Facebook has said it doesn’t pose a threat to fiat and that it’s not going to replace existing currencies.

I think the only thing we can deduce from such musings, is that big corporates are well aware of cryptocurrency. It doesn’t mean they will make one, it also doesn’t mean they won’t.

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Published October 4, 2019 — 08:00 UTC