ENCRYPT$ output binary data?

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Can ENCRYPT$ be made to return binary data instead of a string encoded as hexadecimal?
Can DECRYPT$ be made to accept this binary string data too?

If I'm not totally mistaken, this would lower the storage/transfer space by 50%.
Sure I can convert the hexadecimal string back to binary but this takes time and for a network application on a slow computer I would like to stay away from this :-)