Bitcoin has soared this year as rumors swirl that some of the world’s biggest technology companies, including Apple, Samsung, Facebook, and Twitter, are taking an interest in cryptocurrencies.
The bitcoin price leaped around 200% over the first six months of the year largely due to social media giant Facebook’s now crumbling plans to launch its own private bitcoin rival, libra.
Meanwhile, iPhone-maker Apple raised eyebrows last month when one of its executives said it’s “watching” cryptocurrencies, but Apple chief executive Tim Cook has now poured water on expectations it could be planning its own bitcoin rival–and warned against companies creating their own currencies.
“I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries. I’m not comfortable with the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency,” Cook reportedly told Les Echos, a French financial newspaper.
Cook’s comments come as Facebook’s libra project faces opposition from countries and regulators around the world, with online payment provider PayPal yesterday pulling its support for libra.
Facebook had assembled 28, now down to 27 without PayPal, companies to form the so-called Libra Association, including ride-sharing app Uber, and payments giants Visa and Mastercard, to help govern the private currency.
“A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way,” Cook added, in a thinly-veiled warning to Facebook.
Earlier this year, U.S. president Donald Trump unleashed a scathing attack on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and Facebook’s libra, branding them “not money.”
Elsewhere, other technology companies have moved to incorporate bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in other ways.
Galaxy-maker Samsung, perhaps the biggest rival to Apple’s iPhone, has recently taken major steps into bitcoin and cryptocurrency, building a so-called Blockchain Keystore into its new Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note10 models, allowing users to securely store the keys to their bitcoin and crypto wallets on the devices.
Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey recently declared his love for bitcoin and has been hiring bitcoin and cryptocurrency experts and developers at his payments company Square.