Apple, maker of the wildly successful iPhone, appears to be taking its first tentative steps into the world of bitcoin and cryptocurrency—revealing its upcoming iOS 13 software release will feature what Apple calls a "cryptographic" developer tool.
Apple's first carefully measured steps into bitcoin and crypto, avoiding the trigger words "cryptocurrency" and "blockchain", come as social media giant Facebook, Galaxy maker Samsung, and other global tech companies have begun experimenting with their own versions of and support for bitcoin and crypto.
The bitcoin price, which has been swinging wildly over recent weeks as investors nervously await an expected pullback following bitcoin's surge higher earlier in the year, has doubled so far this year following a disastrous 2018.
Many in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry hope that the latest wave of interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from Silicon Valley will spur the bitcoin price back to its all-time highs of almost $20,000, set in late 2017.
Bitcoin's recent recovery has fuelled a renewed mainstream interest in cryptocurrencies after many feared the bitcoin and crypto party had come to an abrupt end last year and speculation that some of the world's biggest technology companies from Apple to Twitter are eyeing bitcoin have stoked the flames.
Apple announced the iPhone CryptoKit yesterday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, running all week in Cupertino, allowing developers implement hashing, key generation and exchange, and encryption on iOS apps and replacing Apple’s previous framework, CommonCrypto.
"For the first time, developers can leverage the secure enclave to manage a user’s keys in an iPhone, achieving a similar level of security to hardware wallets," Alejandro Machado, co-founder at Open Money Initiative, told crypto news site The Block, adding the implications for cryptocurrency developers are significant.
Apple has had a rocky relationship with bitcoin and cryptocurrency apps in the past, previously delisting San Francisco-based bitcoin exchange Coinbase from its App Store, along with a whole host of other bitcoin and crypto apps.
Apple and iPhone watchers were quick to play down Apple's new CryptoKit, however, with some suggesting it is not a "game changer."
"Apple already had a cryptography framework called CommonCrypto that did many of the things CryptoKit does," blockchain developer Ronald Mannak said via Twitter.
"CryptoKit is good news for Swift developers, but it’s not the game changer people in the ethereum community would like it to be."
Meanwhile, one of the iPhone's biggest competitors, Samsung's Galaxy, revealed earlier this year its latest model includes a cryptocurrency wallet—though was notably without bitcoin support.
Mexico-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitso has raised capital from a number of major investors including Ripple, Coinbase, and Jump Capital to help it expand into Latin America.
The UNICEF is rolling out a pilot program to accept cryptocurrency donations—and won’t be converting the raised funds to cash.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair believes that Ethereum is a commodity, according to Yahoo Finance.
Ripple announced on Wednesday a collaboration with UK-based Finastra, reportedly the third-largest FinTech firm in the world, to allow Finastra's customers access to RippleNet, Ripple's global payment network, for faster, cheaper, and more reliable cross-border payments.
Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, has added WeChat and Alipay as payment methods on its platform.