Apple exploring crypto with ‘alternative payments’ hire — what we know so far

Bitcoin on MacBook
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Editor's note

Thinking of investing in cryptocurrency? Be careful. The crypto market is volatile and you could easily lose money on it. Nothing you read on Tom's Guide should be taken as a recommendation that you invest in either a particularly cryptocurrency or the market as a whole.

The idea that iPhones could one day be bought with Bitcoin is probably a way off, but Apple is at least exploring cryptocurrency, if a new job listing from the company is any indication.

According to the listing, first spotted by CoinDesk, Apple is looking to hire a Business Development Manager focused on Alternative Payments to join its Apple Wallets, Payments, and Commerce (WPC) team. And while the Alternative Payments tag is broad, the listing later specifies that Apple is looking to hire someone who has experience with “digital wallets, [buy now pay later], fast payments, cryptocurrency,” and other payment options.

Granted, a job listing that mentions cryptocurrency doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be buying iPads and AirPods with Bitcoin in the near future, or topping up our Candy Crush Saga accounts with Dogecoin via the App Store. But it suggests that Apple is potentially open to partners in the crypto space, which could make it easier for developers to deploy their payment and wallet apps on Apple devices.

It is already possible to spend cryptocurrency via Apple Pay and the use of a BitPay prepaid Mastercard. This can be used for everything from contactless payments via iPhone or Apple Watch to in-app payments on iOS devices. Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has teased similar impending adoption for its Visa-based Coinbase Card, too.

Nor is this the first time that Apple has discussed cryptocurrency: in a 2019 interview, Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey said that the company was “watching cryptocurrency” and added that Apple believes it has “interesting long-term potential.” 

Though there's clearly still a long way to go before Apple fully opens up to crypto — and it may never happen — it would be a big deal if it ever did so. 

Market volatility and rapidly changing exchange rates can make it challenging for crypto investors to spend their coins on products and services. Some investors also prefer to keep their holdings in favor of perceived future gains, rather than spending it like cash — despite the fact that there's no guarantee their investment won't be wiped out overnight.  

However, as cryptocurrency gains wider adoption and mainstream awareness, it is becoming easier for those who wish to spend it to do so. Retailers such as Overstock and Expedia accept Bitcoin for purchases (not Tesla any more, though), and PayPal recently enabled US customers to spend cryptocurrency at any of its global retail partners. Could Apple one day join them? We'll be watching with interest to find out.

About the author

Andrew Hayward is a writer and editor based in Chicago. His work covering tech, crypto, games, and esports has appeared in more than 100 publications around the world, including Polygon, Rolling Stone, Decrypt, and Stuff. He has covered cryptocurrency extensively since 2019, including coins, crypto games, and NFTs, and interviewed many creators and prominent figures in the space. He has also personally invested in several coins and currently holds less than 1 BTC, 2 ETH, and 700 ADA, along with smaller amounts of other coins. View all articles by Andrew here.

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Andrew Hayward

Andrew Hayward is a freelance writer for Tom’s Guide who contributes laptop and other hardware reviews. He’s also the Culture Editor at crypto publication Decrypt covering the world of Web3. Andrew’s writing on games and tech has been published in more than 100 publications since 2006, including Rolling Stone, Vice, Polygon, Playboy, Stuff, and GamesRadar.