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New job listing hints that Apple might be getting into cryptocurrency

Published May 27th, 2021 6:04PM EDT
Apple Pay Bitcoin
Image: stockphoto-graf/Adobe

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Cryptocurrency has been a hot topic in 2021, with several digital tokens surging to new all-time highs. Bitcoin started the year at around $27,000 and has been skyrocketing ever since. By mid-April, Bitcoin topped $64,000 for a single coin. It wasn’t just retail investors driving up demand for cryptocurrencies. Institutions were more involved than ever, including several well-known companies. PayPal started supporting crypto purchases and allowed users to turn their digital coins into fiat. Tesla added bitcoin to its balance and started accepting bitcoin payments for its electric cars. Elon Musk promoted a meme coin called dogecoin before abruptly announcing that Tesla was suspending bitcoin payments for environmental reasons. Bitcoin sank to $30,000 last week, and it’s trading at around $40,000 at the time of this writing.

According to a brand new job posting, Apple might be one of the big institutions exploring cryptocurrency payments. Apple is looking for a Business Development Manager for Alternative Payments, a job title that would involve knowledge of cryptocurrencies.

Found by CoinDesk, the job listing suggests Apple is looking at new ways for people to pay for its products and services:

The Apple Wallets, Payments, and Commerce (WPC) team is seeking an experienced Business Development Manager to lead Alternative Payments Partnerships. We are looking for a proven professional in global alternative and emerging payment solutions. We need your help forming partnership framework and commercial models, defining implementation paradigms, identifying key players and managing relationships with strategic alternative payment partners. This position will be responsible for the end to end business development, including screening partners, negotiating and closing commercial agreements and launching new programs.

Familiarity with cryptocurrency is among the key qualifications that Apple has listed:

5+ years experience working in or with alternative payment providers, such as digital wallets, BNPL, Fast Payments, cryptocurrency and etc..

That’s as much as Apple says about cryptocurrency in the job listing, and there’s no mention of bitcoin or other blockchain technologies that could be used for online payments. In fact, some would argue that bitcoin isn’t the best cryptocurrency for payments, given the higher fees and waiting times.

It’s unclear whether Apple will support crypto payments in its retail and digital stores anytime soon. Still, the search for a senior role that would at least consider cryptocurrency alternatives is an indication that Apple is closely monitoring the crypto market.

Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey said a couple of years ago that Apple is “watching cryptocurrency.”

“We think it’s interesting,” the executive said. “We think it has interesting long-term potential.”

Apple’s control over payments for digital goods is at the center of a major legal battle. Epic sued Apple earlier this year, with Apple’s control over payments being at the center of the lawsuit. Apple handles all transactions for content on iPhone and iPad, preventing developers from offering customers alternate payment options. Epic and others have criticized Apple’s strict payment rules. But from a user experience perspective, having Apple handle all financial transactions on the iPhone and iPad is an incredible security feature.

It’s unclear whether Apple would be able to exert the same control over payments if reverting to cryptocurrencies in the future.

One other hurdle that might impact Apple’s ability to allow users to pay for goods via crypto is the lack of clear regulation. But the renewed interest in cryptocurrency also comes with an expected side-effect, renewed scrutiny from governments around the world looking to regulate the crypto landscape.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.