Remember Apple Pay? Apple Pay was Apple’s biggest product launch since the passing of legendary founder Steve Jobs back in October of 2011. You, I, and the market, in general, may have forgotten about this fiat currency-based Bitcoin competitor, but Tim Cook is back on the pulpit again. He recently spoke in Dublin to Trinity College students about the future of money, pushing the languishing Apple Pay app towards the future grads. He failed to mention Bitcoin, and for good reason.
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Tim Cook can see the future
The forward thinking Apple leader does not see traditional cash having much of a long-term future, and most payments will become digital and smartphone-based. He said that the future children of these college students “won’t know what (paper) money is.” In a direct interview with The Telegraph, he also made reference to other Apple initiatives regarding the future of consumer security.
"We plan to continue to encrypt end to end with no back door. We will productively work with the governments to try to convince them that's also in their best interests in the national security sense,” Cook said to The Telegraph.
As you can see from the chart above, the future of money doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Apple Pay, according to Google Trends. Over the last year of Google web searches, Bitcoin has outpaced Apple Pay and their billion-dollar marketing machine better than three-to-one. The only time Apple Pay was even competitive in online interest was in its initial launch month, September of 2014. According to Payment UK, cash payments in Britain still comprise half of the retail markets but are in decline.
Banks and lawmakers beat the drum against freedom
If you have not been following the economic news recently, cash has come under fire as potentially facing future bans from the establishment, under the guise of “stopping terrorism”. If terrorists use cash, then cash is the problem. Under that logic, shoes, underwear and telephones are also heading towards “Death Row”. Limiting cash forces people to work through banks and bureaucracy to handle all future monetary transactions, which is great if your goal is to control the world. If you want to live free of bank’s hidden fees, third parties getting your information without your consent, and government tyranny, not so great.
Citi's Willem Buiter made news last April by broaching the subject, basing his argument around the inherent flaws in central banking, and the growing need for negative interest rates to begin, worldwide. This rhetoric piggybacked upon the French Finance Minister Michel Sapin’s commentary last Spring, where he also came out to "fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy.”
The French government went so far as to pass "Le Patriot Act” in May. Implemented in September, and like its American counterpart, this legislation works to take liberties away from the nation’s citizens, here has severely limiting the ability of common citizens to obtain cash in the country. French residents can no longer make cash payments higher than 1,000 euros, or convert to other currencies above 1000 euros. However, this law did not stop the horrific attacks in Paris last week, killing over 125 people, and injuring hundreds more. Restricting the financial freedom and rights of people in France to somehow thwart terrorism failed its first test, miserably.
As smartphones and new technologies proliferate, cash will become less relied upon, at least in the Western world. Also, as identity theft continues to plague banks, retailers, and other intermediaries, debit cards and credit cards may also take a hit in actual usage, once a faster and more secure form of payment comes along.
Fortunately, there are exciting new options on the market to choose from. Tim Cook can see a realistic future, except for the fact that a popular Apple Pay app does not appear to be a part of it. Bitcoin and Apple have made their presentations to the public, and the people have spoken, loud and clear.