At a recent event in San Francisco, Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey commented on the companies feelings regarding cryptocurrency.
Bailey suggested that the tech giant, which historically has been somewhat impartial towards cryptocurrencies, could be increasing its interest in the sector: “We’re watching cryptocurrency”, she said. “We think it’s interesting. We think it has interesting long-term potential.”
Apple first entered the payments space in 2014 with the launch of Apple Pay, an innovative development which at the time sent ripples of excitement through the community. Its launch in conjunction with a rise in contactless payments meant the system was widely adopted and now processes almost one billion transactions per month.
The unexpected comments suggest a change in heart at Apple and come at an interesting time – especially considering the recent controversy surrounding Facebook’s plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, Libra. While admittedly the news from Apple is a far cry from the concrete plans put forward by Facebook, it could indicate a growing concern from the company about missing the ‘crypto boat’. 
Successfully leveraging its massive and loyal userbase to adopt a private, in-house cryptocurrency could prove hugely profitable for the company, as the general public is increasingly moving away from traditional payment methods. However, the likelihood of an Apple cryptocurrency receiving the same scrutiny and criticism as that dealt upon Facebook is high. Due to their excessively large userbases, any finance-based considerations from the top five ‘FAANG’ (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) companies will undoubtedly draw attention from regulators and lawmakers around the world.

Fighting declining sales

With iPhone sales in Q3 declining, Apple appears to be ramping up its services to meet the demand of Millenials who are increasingly moving towards online payment methods. Mobile-only banks like Monzo, Revolut, and N26 have exploded in popularity this year, prompting many traditional banks and tech giants to begin developing their own proprietary digital solutions.
Last month, Apple launched the Apple Credit Card, another development revealing its increasing interest in the financial technology sector. The card, which comes in both digital and physical formats, has been launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs and requires users to fill out an application form. As per normal card applications, credit scores are considered and applicants must be over 18, U.S. citizens and Apple iPhone users.