Is crypto in Apple’s future?


Apple is a $2.6 trillion company. To significantly boost that number, the company has only so many opportunities it can pursue. Self-driving cars and mixed-reality glasses come to mind.

There’s another massive opportunity the iPhone maker has been fairly mum on: cryptocurrency. “Apple’s position on crypto is between neutral and hostile,” says Ric Burton, a designer working on an iOS wallet for Ethereum. “However, iPhone could be the tool that on-boards millions of people to the ecosystem.”

How? By creating a user-friendly way to interact with the crypto economy.

Burton believes that the iPhone — which more than 1 billion people carry in their pockets for everyday use — can attract people to crypto in two ways:

Safari browser extension: One of crypto’s biggest on-boarding tools is Metamask, a Google Chrome extension crypto wallet with 21 million users. Apple’s iOS 15 update provides more extension support for its Safari browser. And with 54% of mobile traffic in America coming from Safari, there’s an opportunity for more crypto iPhone tools.

Hardware wallet: The iPhone has a hardware feature called a secure enclave that stores information for sensitive applications. If Apple added an encryption signature known as Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm, the iPhone could become a secure crypto hardware wallet to hold private keys and for digital authentication.

Burton says a browser extension is “a near-term solution” for on-boarding crypto users. The hardware wallet is a longer-term solution, but — with Apple’s ability to create consumer-friendly tools — one that could be revolutionary.

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