With adoption of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in particular growing day by day, people have begun to speculate whether large companies such as Amazon, eBay and Starbucks are poised to enter the market and create their own currencies or maybe start accepting existing ones as a payment method on their platforms.
There has been a lot of coverage in the media recently regarding them so let’s take a look and assess the possibilities.
Will Amazon Accept Bitcoin?
Amazon is is the largest internet retailer in the world. With $177 billion dollars of revenue in 2017, the company may have a big impact in the cryptocurrency market if it decides to accept Bitcoin and/or other virtual currencies.
In October 2017, rumors were circulating about the possibility to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment. According to the German newspaper, Die Welt, this possibility increases day after day.
As reported by the German newspaper, James Altucher, an important hedge fund manager and investor, hinted that Amazon could accept Bitcoin for its products and services. By doing so, Amazon would be one of the first global corporations that will allow its customers to pay using a cryptocurrency.
Amazon Bitcoin Boom, Image by Weld
Even when Amazon did not give any specific comment about the matter, fintech specialists in Silicon Valley believe that this is a real possibility. Die Welt explains that if the company does not add Bitcoin in the near future, it may do it later.
A member of staff from Amazon that preferred to stay anonymous said about this possibility:
“Amazon opts to include new products or services only when these are useful for customers – until that point, we do not engage in rough speculation.”
The truth is that Bitcoin has been accepted by several companies in the past, but lots of them have decided to drop Bitcoin support. They alleged that Bitcoin had too high fees and slow transaction times.
Apparently, Amazon is waiting for the technology to be more mature before deciding to add Bitcoin support. This could mean that for Amazon, a scalability solution for Bitcoin must be implemented before they decide to accept BTC payments.
Another rumor circulated about Amazon creating a cryptocurrency for its platform. The so called “Amazon Coin” could have a very important support from the community, according to a survey conducted by LendEDU.
Pol, created by LendEDU
Following LendEDU’s survey, 61% of the people that used Amazon during the last month said that they would trust Amazon as much as traditional financial institutions, i.e. banks.
At the moment, we only know that the company is working with different blockchain products but they did not inform whether they are developing their own token or thinking about accepting another virtual currency.
eBay – Good Bye PayPal, Hello Bitcoin?
In February, 2017 the e-commerce company decided to drop PayPal as the main payment option for its platform. The internet firm with headquarters in California will start to work with another payment platform that supports cryptocurrencies.
With bitcoin developers working so as to allow the famous cryptocurrency to be a more competitive option compared to other payment processors, Bitcoin could be tested and accepted by eBay.
eBay is working with Adyen, a Dutch enterprise focused in digital payments. The integration with eBay may take place between Q2 and Q3, 2018. The main intention is to offer a more “seamless payment experience.”
eBay and Paypal, Image by Engadget
What is important to mark is that eBay will not stop accepting PayPal, but it has just decided to drop it as the main option to process purchases through the platform. The main problem that eBay faces with PayPal is the impact that fees have on its budget. The payment processing company charges important fees for each transaction that takes place in the platform. By dropping PayPal, eBay may see their revenue boosted up to $2 billion dollars in the coming years.
Devin Wenig, eBay CEO said:
“We now believe that we can offer a more seamless experience, while giving buyers and sellers more choice for payment and pay options.”
Even when there are no rumours about eBay creating its own cryptocurrency, Scott Cutler, senior vice president of eBay Americas, said that the e-commerce platform is seriously discussing accepting virtual currencies.
“This is a trend that everybody is talking about, but sadly, at eBay, we don’t currently accept bitcoin as a form of payment,” Mr Cutler said. “We’re seriously considering it as these cryptocurrencies become more of a mainstream payment instrument, but we’re not quite there yet.”
eBay is an important market for bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining hardware and other crypto-related collectibles.
Starbucks’ Blockchain Platform
Starbucks is another important company that calls the attention of many cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Around the world there are several Bitcoin and cryptocurrency-related cafes, but Starbucks does not accept cryptocurrencies as of today.
According to the Executive Chairman at Starbucks, Howard Shultz, Starbucks is working on the implementation of a payment application based entirely on Blockchain technology. Does this mean that Starbucks is planning to launch a cryptocurrency?
Starbucks Crypto Payments App? Image by CCN.com
On February the 27th, Mr Shultz said that the firm is working in an application that will be integrated with Blockchain and will help to reduce waiting times and improve customer’s attention.
In addition to it, Shultz said that some cryptocurrencies have the possibility to expand and succeed:
“I personally believe that there is going to be a one or a few legitimate trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology. And that legitimacy and trust in terms of its consumer application will have to be legitimized by a brand and a brick and mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction.”
Some cryptocurrency supporters were speculating about the possibility of Starbucks to create a token to use in its stores. Something similar to what Burger King did in some countries with it’s Whoppercoins built on the Waves platform.
“The real question in any brick-and-mortar retailer these days is how do you become as relevant outside of your stores as you have inside?” Shultz commented. “If you look at what we’ve accomplished to date and what we’re now talking about, the future of Starbucks domestically and around the world is our best days are in front of us.”
It remains to be seen if these are just rumors or if these companies are actually planning to launch their own cryptocurrencies or begin accepting established ones as a method of payments. With the recent boom and interest levels in everything crypto sky-high, it would seem likely they have certainly started to consider it.
As Bitcoin grows and reaches a level of adoption where it does actually become used as a payment currency rather than a speculative instrument or storage of wealth we could well see more and more mainstream companies accept it which would surely help to legitimize it and propel it to even greater heights.