Apple's Tim Cook owns cryptocurrencies but won't take them as payment for products yet

The CEO talked to The New York Times about privacy, the App Store and cryptocurrencies.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

Tim Cook says Steve Jobs is the reason Apple focuses so closely on privacy.


There's a joke among tech reporters that Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency world have become so ubiquitous in the tech world that whenever there's news on nearly any product, crypto is a part of it somehow. 

The latest example came by way of Apple CEO Tim Cook , who said Tuesday he's been interested in crypto for "a while." Cook also said he considers it "reasonable" to own cryptocurrency "as part of a diversified portfolio." Cook, who's estimated by Forbes to be worth more than $1.4 billion, didn't say which crypto coins he owns.

Cook was speaking at The New York Times Dealbook summit happening this week, answering questions about privacy, the App Store and Tesla. 

On privacy, he noted that the company's late co-founder Steve Jobs made privacy a key issue at Apple before he died in 2011. "He said something very simple, 'People should know what they're signing up for and you should ask them repeatedly for their permission in plain language,'" Cook said. "You look back and it's so simple, but yet it's been so profound."

Cook said the latest example of that effort is App Tracking Transparency, which asks people whether or not they want to allow an app to track them across the web and other apps. Cook said he personally allows some apps to track him, but it comes down to "trust of the developer." Meta, the umbrella company that owns Facebook, has complained that App Tracking Transparency has hurt its advertising business.

When asked about the story that Tesla CEO Elon Musk had tried to sell his electric car company to Apple but couldn't get a meeting with Cook, Apple's CEO said he's never spoken with Musk and couldn't confirm the story.

"There are lots of companies out there that we could have bought at different times probably, but I feel really good about where we are today," Cook added.

Speaking further on crypto issues, Cook also demurred when asked if Apple would begin integrating crypto into Apple Pay , only responding that "there are other things that we are definitely looking at" without going into detail.

Cook said he doesn't foresee Apple accepting digital currency to pay for its goods in the near term, nor does he expect Apple to buy crypto with its cash reserves. 

"I don't think people buy Apple stock to get exposure to crypto," he said.