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Is Apple Pay Planning to Integrate Bitcoin? Strike CEO Leaves Clues

Apple reportedly plans to reduce its reliance on outside financial companies by building out new services in-house. Apparently, one of the developing services is related to payment processing technology.

Could this technology involve the Bitcoin network? Recent behavior from Jack Mallers – CEO of Strike – hints that his company may play a role.

Apple’s New Services

As reported by Bloomberg, insiders say that Apple’s effort is focused on new products rather than current ones. They include everything from payment processing, to risk assessment, to fraud analysis, to credit checks.

The services would build on Apple’s existing lineup, which already includes Apple-branded credit cards and peer-to-peer payments. The company is even working on a subscription service for its hardware, and a “buy now, pay later” feature for Apple Pay.

Internally, a section of the project received the nickname “breakout”, suggesting a departure from the current financial system. However, a company representative refused to comment on these plans.

Revolutionary financial technology today is often associated with crypto, by both industry leaders and the federal government. It wouldn’t be outlandish to see Apple adopt this technology, which now generates $70 billion per year from Apple pay.

It wouldn’t be unprecedented either. CashApp has already integrated Bitcoin purchases and lightning network payments into its app. Meta also attempted to launch a global stablecoin project and wallet, though it ultimately fell through.

So far, Apple is yet to make any significant forays into adopting crypto. However, its newly revealed “tap to pay” service includes support for crypto payment. Examples include Coinbase Card and Crypto.com Visa card, which individuals can load with crypto and use to shop at any vendor.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has also stated that he personally owns some Bitcoin and Ethereum. Still, he harboured no plans to add the assets to Apple’s balance sheet at the time.

Where Does Strike Come In?

Strike is a company exclusively focusing on Bitcoin payment technology. It is famous for utilizing the lightning network to enable cheap cross-border remittance payments. It also offers a service letting users receive their salary in Bitcoin.

In the context of recent tweets, it’s possible that the company may be getting involved with Apple. CEO Jack Mallers has posted numerous tweets containing references to the company.

On March 24th, Mallers posted a picture of himself flipping the bird to Chase Bank. He wore a hat that read “Apple” in the picture, while implying Bitcoin as a more inclusive alternative to Chase.

Then, on Monday, he shared the 1997 Apple commercial “The Crazy Ones”, which praised the “crazy, “ creative innovators throughout history.

Finally, on Wednesday, the CEO published a clip of Steve Jobs praising Apple’s brand, while stressing its need for vitality. This was part of a thread about building a better monetary network on Bitcoin.

Investors Inundate Zap's Mallers After El Salvador Bitcoin Push - Bloomberg
Jack Mallers. Source: Bloomberg

Jack Mallers’ Secret Meetings

Though Apple is the world’s largest company, to suggest that they have an interest in Strike wouldn’t be inconceivable. Mallers revealed last month that he’s already had meetings with executives of Google and Facebook about Bitcoin.

His arguments appear to have been convincing as well. During the dinner, he specifically told the Facebook executives that they were “doing it wrong” with their Diem stablecoin. It was only a week later that they dropped the project, after three years of working on it.

The next day, he met with an anonymous higher-up at Capital Group who “actively manages a trillion dollars” within the company. He explained to him why Bitcoin removes much of the “muck” involved with legacy financial system payments. He later gave a speech to the International Monetary Fund on the same topic, which the organization appreciated.

This is deeply related to Apple’s current problem of relying on various other financial companies for its services. For example, the Apple Card currently relies on Goldman Sachs for services like lending, credit checks, and managing payment histories.

The CEO also claimed to have had conversations with Jack Dorsey and Jeff Bezos, though he kept the details private.

Should Strike ever make the details of one of these major, private conversations public, it could come next week. He has a revealing segment scheduled on Thursday, April 7th at the Bitcoin Conference 2022, the largest Bitcoin meetup ever. 

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At last year’s conference, Mallers infamously announced that El Salvador had made Bitcoin legal tender alongside Nayib Bukele.

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