Apple and Goldman Sachs Considered Stock-Trading Feature for iPhones Until Market Downturn – Was Crypto Included?
In the midst of the stock market frenzy that gripped the world in 2020, Apple and Goldman Sachs were quietly collaborating on a groundbreaking investing feature, insiders revealed.
This undisclosed project, aimed at allowing consumers to buy and sell stocks through Apple’s ecosystem, was ultimately shelved last year due to concerns over market volatility, according to sources contacted by CNBC.
As the global financial landscape grew increasingly uncertain with rising interest rates and inflation, Apple and Goldman Sachs reevaluated their strategy. Indeed, stocks like Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) fell 69.2% in 2022, while even blue-chip companies like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) fell 27% over the year.
Worried about potential backlash if users incurred losses while using their product, the tech giant pivoted towards launching savings accounts instead, which tend to benefit from higher interest rates.
The fate of the stock trading project remains uncertain, especially in light of Goldman Sachs’ recent decision to withdraw from most consumer banking initiatives. Nevertheless, insiders suggest that the infrastructure for such an investing feature is already in place, should Apple choose to revisit the concept.
Apple’s partnership with Goldman Sachs had already produced notable financial products, starting with the Apple Card in 2019, followed by buy now, pay later (BNPL) loans and a high-yield savings account. The savings account alone had attracted over $10 billion in user deposits by the time it was announced last month.
While details about the stock trading feature remain undisclosed, one hypothetical scenario envisioned iPhone users investing their surplus cash directly into Apple shares.
Would Apple Have Allowed Crypto Trading?
Entering the stock trading arena would have put Apple in competition with established platforms like Robinhood, SoFi, and Square, as well as traditional brokerage firms like Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley’s E-Trade.
Many of these platforms – Robinhood and SoFi among them – also allow users to trade in crypto.
Though it’s unclear if Apple would have offered such a service, the firm’s reported concerns about stock market volatility likely would have been exacerbated in the digital asset market. Last year, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) – the nearest semblances of “blue chip” crypto assets right now – fell 65% and 67% respectively.
It also likely would have amplified regulatory scrutiny against the firm. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already launched enforcement actions against over 20 crypto firms this year, including Coinbase and Binance, who have been accused of listing crypto asset securities on their platforms.
Apple has had previous run-ins with authorities over its App Store practices and concerns that stock trading apps might “gamify” the markets.
Other tech giants have explored similar ventures, with Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) partnering with eToro to enable stock and cryptocurrency purchases, and PayPal considering stock trading before refocusing on its core e-commerce business. Last month, PayPal unveiled its PYUSD stablecoin, which is now available for trading on Venmo.