Owners of Apple devices can now use Bitcoin (opens in new tab) and other cryptocurrencies to purchase goods and services, courtesy of a new arrangement with blockchain payments firm BitPay.
The company’s mobile payments (opens in new tab) service, Apple Pay, will now support BitPay debit cards, which convert crypto holdings into local fiat currency (e.g. USD, GBP, AUD) when a payment is made.
As per a BitPay blog post (opens in new tab), customers will be able to make in-app, contactless and online purchases using Bitcoin, via Apple smartphones (opens in new tab), tablets (opens in new tab), computers (opens in new tab) and smartwatches (opens in new tab).
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The BitPay debit card also allows for payments to be made using a range of altcoins (opens in new tab), such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ether (ETH), as well as USD Coin (USDC), Pax Standard (PAX) and Binance USD (BUSD) stablecoins (opens in new tab).
According to BitPay, the facility is also set to land for Android users by the end of the quarter, via updates to Samsung Pay and Google Pay services.
Bitcoin payments on iPhone
One of the greatest criticisms levelled at Bitcoin, as a new payments ecosystem, is that holders have little opportunity to actually spend their crypto, because only a minority of vendors support this type of transaction.
With simple crypto payments now available to the millions of Apple Pay users, however, the pool of viable transactions has been greatly expanded.
And nor is Apple the only large technology incumbent working to bring crypto payments to the masses. In October, payments giant PayPal also unveiled a new digital wallet (opens in new tab) that allows account holders to buy, sell and transact using a range of cryptocurrencies.
When it comes to Bitcoin specifically, however, the problem of volatility remains. At the time of writing, the currency is expected to crest a valuation of $50,000 per coin, up from just $15,500 in mid-November (a circa 225% increase).
This means that anyone that made a purchase in Bitcoin three months ago can now be said to have overpaid by more than 3x, in light of the currency’s new valuation. At the same time, if the digital currency were to take a dive (as has been known), any purchases made in Bitcoin today would effectively be at a discount.
For this reason, transacting using the world’s first and most famous cryptocurrency carries significant risk, so holders are advised to exercise caution and ensure they are able to absorb any potential losses.
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