No, Apple Pay Isn’t Suddenly Accepting Cryptocurrency

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • Apple Pay users cannot suddenly use the wallet to spend their cryptocurrency, despite suggestive headlines on Friday
  • The truth is that American BitPay debit card holders can now add their card to mobile wallets, but they still have to convert to fiat prior to purchase
  • The move doesn’t therefore benefit anyone other than American iPhone-wielding BitPay debit card holders

Apple Pay is accepting crypto! Except it isn’t, despite what excitable Twitter accounts may have told you last week. The overexcited tweets were due to an announcement from American cryptocurrency platform BitPay to inform their crypto debit card users that they could now import their BitPay cards into the Apple Pay wallet. While this is good news for the portion of the American crypto community that has a BitPay card and uses the wallet, for the rest of us it was nowhere near as monumental as it initially purported to be.

BitPay Users Can Ditch the Card

The BitPay announcement came late on Friday, with the company revealing that American users of their prepaid cryptocurrency debit cards could now add their cards to their Apple Pay wallets, allowing the potential of spending their cryptocurrency through the popular phone wallet. The company added that Apple Pay was the first such move, with Google and Samsung wallets to follow.

The development represents the first time that a crypto debit card has the ability to sit alongside regular credit and debit cards inside a digital wallet, which is something that has taken far too long to achieve. The news comes just days after it was alleged that Mastercard will allow crypto payments on its network, which had perhaps unfairly primed the community.

It’s Apple Pay Jim, But Not as We Know It

While the ability to use a BitPay card on the Apple Pay platform certainly streamlines the process of using BitPay, it’s not quite the wholesale integration that early headlines suggested. Most obviously, the option to spend crypto through Apple Pay is only open to BitPay debit card holders, and only American ones at that. Secondly, the concept of ‘spending Bitcoin through Apple Pay’ is slightly disingenuous, as BitPay users will have to convert the required amount of their chosen cryptocurrency into fiat currency before they can spend it.

In truth then, all that has really happened is that BitPay card holders can now add their card to the Apple Pay wallet. While this makes life easier for American BitPay card holders who have iphones, it doesn’t really do anything for the other 99% of the crypto world, who are no closer to spending their crypto through the platform then they were before the announcement.