Fasten your seat belts people. Apple has applied for a patent on a combined virtual currency and digital wallet technology that would allow you to store money in the cloud, make payments with your iPhone, and — just maybe — communicate with point-of-sale terminals via NFC.
The patent application, published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization, details how iPhone users could walk into a store, pay for goods with their phone, and walk out with their merchandise. All of this is possible today, of course, but Apple’s patent application mentions — although does not require — NFC, something that Apple has long resisted adding to the iPhone. NFC facilitates digital wallets and cashless purchasing by wirelessly transmitting payment credentials and pricing information….