Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been rallying hard so far this year, largely due to interest in crypto from some of the world’s biggest technology companies, including social media giant Facebook, iPhone-maker Apple, and micro-blogging platform Twitter.
The bitcoin price, which began the year at under $4,000 per bitcoin, has soared to over $10,000 in just a few months, pushing bitcoin and cryptocurrencies back into the limelight after a disastrous 2018.
Now, Apple, amid plans to diversify away from its ailing iPhone cash cow, has said its closely-watched new credit card will not allow users to purchase bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies when it launches next month.
Apple revealed that users of its credit card, which is being developed in partnership with Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs, will not be permitted to purchase bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in a user agreement posted to Goldman’s website, adding the card also cannot be used to purchase cash advances or cash equivalents, including casino gaming chips, race track wagers, or lottery tickets.
Apple’s credit card, announced earlier this year, garnered a lukewarm reception, with some branding Apple’s approach as lacking innovation.
Apple has so far taken a cautious approach in its early forays into finance, putting into contrast the plans of Facebook, which is planning to launch its own bitcoin-rival some time next year, and Twitter, whose chief executive Jack Dorsey recently declared his love for bitcoin.
However, the pressure is on for Apple, revealing in its latest quarter that it took in less than half its revenue from sales of its iPhone smartphone, the longtime cash and profit driver for the company—with iPhone revenues down some 12% between April and June.
This is not the first time Apple, which is now battling with computing giant Microsoft and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon for the title of world’s most valuable company, has struggled with the concept of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, having banned crypto mining apps from its App Store in early 2018.
The bitcoin price, after climbing earlier this year in response to tech company interest, hit a brick wall last month after global regulators poured water on Facebook’s plans for its libra cryptocurrency and with Apple seemingly trying to keep bitcoin and crypto at arms length, fears are likely to emerge Silicon Valley’s interest in crypto could be overblown.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is still trying to get its head around bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, after David Solomon took over as chief executive last October.
Solomon, who previously said the New York investment bank was looking to add bitcoin and cryptocurrency services to its portfolio, has swung away from decentralized tokens and appears more interested in so-called stablecoins.
Apple’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency buying ban is, however, far from unusual, with U.S. high street banks JP Morgan Chase and Citi prohibiting their customers from purchasing crypto due to fears volatile prices could leave them heavily in debt.