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Starbucks, the world’s most well-known coffee chain, is continuing to make steps towardspayment implementation — but still remains wary of digital money.
Rumors of Starbucks allowing its customers to buy coffee for Bitcoin (BTC) may finally materialize in 2019. According to the latest insider information, coffee-lovers will be able to pay with BTC in store with payments processed instantaneously via the Bakkt platform.
In the initial stages, the option will be available only for US customers.
SCOOP: @Starbucks received significant equity in @Bakkt in return for commitment to allow bitcoin payments in store in 2019 [GENESIS] via @i_woodford https://t.co/OBZE1vOzeo pic.twitter.com/rPqXXZVNlU
— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) March 4, 2019
Exchanging bitcoins for coffee has become somewhat of a meme in the cryptocurrency industry, representing the Bitcoin enthusiasts’ dreams of mass adoption — a dream in which digital currencies are the next stage in the evolution of money.
While the awareness of Bitcoin and other members of the digital currency family has grown exponentially in recent years, the public, overall, still considers cryptocurrencies speculative assets. Wild price swings in 2017 and the beginning of 2018 brought cryptocurrency to the top of the headlines but, in hindsight, did little to promote daily usage.
In certain aspects, this wrong kind of popularity did more harm than good in terms of building trust in this new form of money — both in the eyes of institutions and the public. By accepting BTC, Starbucks can effectively legitimize digital assets in the eyes of those who consider it alien and not usable in their lives.
There is, however, a fly in the ointment.
Despite all the enthusiastic buzz, Starbucks will not actually accept Bitcoin (BTC), per se. Rather, it will be allowing payments via a third-party application that will serve as an instant cryptocurrency converter and credit the company’s account with the equivalent amount in fiat money.
This means that Starbucks will not deal with the digital assets directly, nor will it reflect these sales in its financial reporting — for now. This roundabout solution highlights the fact that Starbucks is not quite ready to handle the regulatory and financial risks related to dealing with cryptocurrencies.
Indeed, there is a vast difference between Starbucks accepting Bitcoin and Starbucks allowing customers to swap their cryptocurrency into fiat in front of the counter to pay for their frappuccinos. The latter is a much safer and less radical option for the company. It signals that big businesses are still proceeding with caution when dealing with digital cash — mostly because of regulatory uncertainty and the big headaches that come with compliance issues.
Similar rumors of Starbucks accepting BTC circulated in Aug 2018. However, at that time, Starbucks management denied the speculations and explained that the company would not to accept Bitcoin directly, but rather provide a solution for those who wanted to spend their digital money.
Do you believe that Starbucks will help foster Bitcoin mass adoption? Would you pay with cryptocurrency for your morning coffee if the option was available? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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