Canadian bank says Apple could be next to buy Bitcoin, build crypto exchange

Is the world’s biggest company by market cap looking to add the world’s biggest cryptocurrency to its treasury reserve? One bank seems to say so.

Cryptocurrencies a better bet than EV for Apple

Consumer technology firm Apple could be the next big enterprise to buy Bitcoin, as per a recent note by Canada’s largest bank, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). The note comes as electric carmaker Tesla said it picked up over $1.5 billion in Bitcoin in the past month.

RBC’s Mitch Steves, an analyst in the bank’s capital markets division, said the next opportunity for Apple was in cryptocurrencies and not the electric car sector—the latter a strategy weighted by Apple in the past few years.

The opportunity, he noted, lay in Apple building out a cryptocurrency exchange as retail demand for accessing the sector grows in the coming years. And for the company, the next step could be to also consider adding Bitcoin or another digital currency to its balance sheet, the bank said.

“This would send even more users to Apple Exchange and would likely further boost Bitcoin prices,” the bank wrote in its client note.

Steves said Apple could leverage its in-built wallet application, used by millions around the world daily, into an app that accepts, stores, and transfers cryptocurrencies. “The wallet initiative appears to be a clear multi-billion dollar opportunity for the firm (potential for well over $40 billion in annual revenue with limited R&D),” he said in the note.

The note came a few days after Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. said that they were not in talks with Apple to develop an autonomous vehicle, despite popular reports and rumors stating otherwise.

The move was said to be well-received among investment circles. But for RBC, the shift to the EV business is a “higher-risk proposition than crypto.”

In a gold rush, sell the shovels

The note comes on the back of companies like Square and PayPal offering cryptocurrencies to their large userbase—allowing retail investors to use a trusted app to purchase crypto instead of using an unregulated platform.

Apart from traditional finance business, Coinbase, one of the most-used crypto exchanges in the US, has already filed its plans for an upcoming initial public offering (IPO), meaning the exchange sector is one that’s just beginning to heat up.

As such, RBC’s comments come at a time when traditional companies, hedge fund managers, and family offices have been increasingly showing more interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

The rush can be traced back to Paul Tudor Jones moving 1% of his assets into Bitcoin investments, following by MicroStrategy’s three BTC purchases. Square picked up $50 million worth of the asset in October as well, and now with Tesla on the bandwagon too, who could be next?

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