Apple has hinted at a growing interest in cryptocurrency, as it seeks new talent for its payments division.
The iPhone maker is recruiting a business development manager for “alternative payments,” including cryptocurrencies, according to job announcement sent this week.
The entrant, which will be on the same team as Apple Pay and the iPhone Wallet app at its Cupertino headquarters, is expected to have made new alliances with “strategic alternative payment partners.”
The qualifications required by the announcement include several years of experience in cryptocurrency, as well as other rapidly growing forms of payment such as “buy now, pay later” services.
The future assumption comes when Apple begins quietly preparing support to make payments with bitcoin through its Wallet app, the iPhone’s central repository for digital cards, tickets and vouchers.
The App Store list for Coinbase, one of the largest cryptographic exchanges, shows that it now supports Apple Wallet, although no details have yet been revealed on how the integration will work.
Coinbase’s website it just says that “it doesn’t currently support Apple Pay, but we hope to bring a faster and more secure way to spread cryptocurrency to iOS users soon.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recruitment announcement, which was reported earlier by Coindesk. Coinbase has not commented on its plans for Apple Wallet integration.
Crypto enthusiasts quickly took the job as a sign that Silicon Valley’s most valuable company was preparing a deeper move in payments through bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
An RBC Capital Markets analyst said in a research note in February that Apple had a “clear opportunity” in crypto, making it easier and more secure for individuals to buy and sell digital assets. The company has extensive experience in payments with Apple Pay, launched in 2014, and its own branded credit card, which debuted in 2019.
Jennifer Bailey, who runs Apple Pay, said two years ago that the iPhone maker “kept” the cryptocurrency. “We think it has interesting potential in the long run,” Bailey was told CNN event.
But Apple has been criticized in the past – including by Coinbase’s chief executive – for its refusal to support bitcoin and other alternative forms of payment on Apple Pay and through the App Store.
In 2013, it banned crypto wallets from the iPhone, launching Coinbase and several similar apps from its App Store, although it later gave up the policy.
Epic Games, which has taken Apple to court for what it claims is its monopolistic control over the App Store, sustinia in its lawsuit that Apple “anti-competitive behavior eliminates all of these innovations and alternative payment options,” such as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.