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Apple positioned to offer cryptocurrencies: RBC report

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FILE PHOTO: The Apple logo is seen at an Apple Store in Brooklyn
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(Reuters) - Apple Inc has a "clear opportunity" to offer a buying and selling mechanism for cryptocurrencies, a move that would allow the company to immediately gain market share, according to a research report on Monday from RBC Capital Markets.

With its access to world-class software and a secure ecosystem, Apple could tackle the problem individuals face acquiring crypto assets due to know-your-customer laws and other regulations with the company offering a closed system that prevents nefarious activity, improves asset security, and has instant access to buyers and sellers, the report said.

It added that if Apple, which already has a Wallet app, went down this path, the move would likely make the United States a global leader in crypto assets, lessening the possibility of a government shutdown of the industry.

"If the USA owns the most crypto assets (be it Bitcoin or other assets), it would not make logical sense in our view to ban it," RBC analysts said in the report.

The report came the same day that top cryptocurrency bitcoin strode closer to mainstream acceptance after billionaire Elon Musk's electric vehicle company, Tesla Inc, revealed it had bought $1.5 billion of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars - sending the cryptocurrency shooting higher.

Apple has proceeded cautiously with cryptocurrencies. The company banned cryptocurrency wallets from its App Store in 2014, but later reversed the decision and now allows them. However, Apple bans mining for cryptocurrencies on iPhones and does not allow its Apple Card credit card to be used to purchase cryptocurrencies.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Alden Bentley and Matthew Lewis)