During the WWDC keynote event, Apple showed off a bunch of new features coming to the iOS 13 software. The upcoming software would bring a new battery optimizer, Dark Mode, the ability to automatically block spam calls, Sign in with Apple, a swipable keyboard, and an updated Siri. One iOS 13 feature that didn’t get the stage time during the keynote address is CryptoKit.
Apple releases CryptoKit to developers
First reported by CCN, Apple has quietly rolled out a new CryptoKit framework with iOS 13 for developers. The tech giant made the beta version of iOS 13 available to developers soon after the announcement. Is the iPhone maker planning to add a cryptocurrency wallet to iPhones? It’s too early to predict, but the company does seem interested in exploring the cryptographic functionality.
The CryptoKit framework will allow developers to integrate operations such as key generation, hashing, and encryption to their apps. It will also enable the use of public-key cryptography to “create and evaluate digital signatures, and to perform key exchange.” It also allows you to store and manage private keys in the Secure Enclave.
TrustWallet founder Viktor Radchenko said in a tweet that it brings Apple one step closer to turning the iPhone into a hardware wallet. The CryptoKit framework allows developers to perform a number of cryptographic operations such as comparing cryptographically secure digests, generating symmetric keys, and using them in a variety of operations including encryption. It will help developers build more secure apps.
Apple announced CryptoKit for iOS 13, only a few steps away before you can turn your phone into a hardware wallet.https://t.co/21wPSBz0K3
— Viktor Radchenko (@vikmeup) June 4, 2019
Frederic Jacobs, who is part of Apple’s cryptographic and security engineering team, said CryptoKit is a “fast and secure Swift API to perform cryptographic operations.” Apple is expected to talk more about it at WWDC on Wednesday.
— Frederic Jacobs (@FredericJacobs) June 3, 2019
Apple adds Bitcoin symbols to SF set
What’s equally interesting is that Apple has added four Bitcoin symbols in its San Francisco icon set. The new Bitcoin symbols will be compatible with Apple’s San Francisco font. The icon set, which consists of roughly 1,000 new icons, does not include any other cryptocurrencies. The new Bitcoin icons will allow developers to integrate Bitcoin into their apps.
Just noticed that Apple's new icon set (SF Symbols), includes bitcoin. pic.twitter.com/Og8dWp2C85
— Brandon (@brandnanthny) June 4, 2019
The iPhone maker might be following Samsung to the cryptocurrency game. Earlier this year, the Korean company introduced Samsung Blockchain Wallet with the Galaxy S10 flagship. The hardware cryptocurrency wallet can store your private keys. The company is also rumored to integrate cryptocurrencies into its Samsung Pay. According to CCN, Samsung is planning to bring the crypto wallet to its mid-range Galaxy phones as well.
Galaxy S10 users can download the Samsung Blockchain Wallet from the Samsung Galaxy Store. The wallet allows users to store Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cosmo Coin, which is a beauty-related crypto wallet. It also supports four decentralized apps (Dapps): Cosmee, Enjin, CryptoKitties, and CoinDuck. Samsung plans to add support for more cryptocurrencies and Dapps in the future.
Samsung is not the only company to have launched phones supporting blockchain technology, but it has the power to influence the adoption of blockchain. Sirin Labs, which makes one of the most secure smartphones in the world, has launched the Finney phone with a dedicated cryptocurrency wallet. Taiwanese vendor HTC has also launched HTC Exodus 1 blockchain phone, but you can purchase it only using cryptocurrency.
Apple might be planning to catch up with its Android rivals in terms of cryptocurrency adoption. It’s still unclear whether or when it would introduce a crypto wallet or integrate cryptocurrencies into Apple Pay.