Apple is not in a hurry to make BTC payments possible from Apple Pay. But at least it is moving in the right direction.
Smartphone manufacturer Apple Inc. today announced a new Tap-to-Pay feature on the Apple Pay app. Stripe will be the first company to offer Tap-to-Pay to their business clients. The merchant will need to have at least an iPhone XS. The merchant’s phone will need to have a supportive iOS app. The customer can then bring his phone close to the merchant’s phone, and secure payment will take place via Near-Field Communication (NFC). Stripe halted support for bitcoin payments in 2018. However, in late Nov. 2021, the CEO said that the company is open to processing payments made with crypto.
Tap-to-pay will soon support credit and debit cards. This means that customers using the Coinbase Card, Crypto.com Visa Card, or something similar could technically make payments unless Apple introduces specific restrictions.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made no announcement as to whether BTC payments will be possible using Apple Pay. More than a few Twitter users were keen to know. For example, @Genesis_Block asked, “Will this work for BTC payments?”
Apple made early strides into crypto space
Apple has been eyeing the crypto space for a while, but it has been pretty secretive in traditional Apple fashion. One of the early indications of interest in this space was when Apple listed a job offer in late May 2021 for a business development manager specializing in alternative payments. The job posting highlighted the need for five or more years of experience working with or in cryptocurrency payments and digital wallets.
Coinbase used Apple Pay integration way back
In August 2021, Coinbase started accepting Apple Pay and Google Pay for crypto purchases. Suppose the customer has a debit or credit card in their Apple Wallet, either Visa or Mastercard. In that case, Apple Pay appears as a payment option when using an iOS device that supports Apple Pay or a Safari web browser. Coinbase also introduced the Coinbase Card in June 2021. The Coinbase Card is a Visa debit card. The card can be added as a standard debit card to Apple Pay and Google. The pilot phase of the rollout saw customers receiving 1% back in bitcoin or 4% back in Stellar Lumens. Coinbase can convert crypto to fiat in Real-Time, making crypto payments via Tap-to-Pay possible across a wide array of merchants. Crypto.com also launched their own Visa Card, which can be added to Apple Pay and other digital wallets.
Perhaps Apple could take a leaf out of CashApp’s book that uses the bitcoin Lightning Network for real-time payments. But considering Apple’s tendency to operate within a walled garden, this seems unlikely.
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