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Apple’s digital wallet patent references ‘virtualised currencies’

With tech giant Apple positioning itself to enter the mobile payment space, interest has been piqued by a recent digital wallet patent application that has just been made public.

The Apple logo

Apple has patented a digital wallet proposition

The patent application reveals the back-end architecture for a versatile mobile ‘omni-wallet’, which also references ‘virtualised currencies’. The back-end patent application outlines a digital wallet system that can handle digital debit and credit cards, along with coupons issued by merchants and other organisations. However, this does not necessarily mean Apple will enable digital currency functionality.

Apple’s iOS ecosystem is a closed model, compared to Google’s Android platform which uses an open approach. For some time, Apple refused to allow any digital currency apps in its App store. However, a revision of its App store review guidelines, conducted in June, now paves the way for iOS-enabled digital currency apps.

The ‘virtualised currency’ reference is open to interpretation, but could cover a wide range of concepts, ranging from store credit to various loyalty schemes offered by merchants, or even Apple itself. Apple could also opt to introduce a digital currency of its own, similar to Amazon Coins. The US Patent and Trademark Organisation (USPTO) published an Apple patent application for ‘iMoney’ in 2013.

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