Last week the news that Starbucks was collaborating on a crypto-platform sent excitement through the whole industry. Finally it seemed like a major retailer would be accepting cryptocurrency. However, it appears that perception was premature, and though the company is certainly entering the crypto-space, it will not be accepting Litecoin for lattes just yet.
On Friday Starbucks announced its involvement with Bakkt, a partnership with the Intercontinental Exchange (which owns the New York Stock Exchange), Microsoft and BCG. Bakkt plans to build a “seamless global network” for spending cryptocurrencies, and Starbucks’ Vice President of payments, Maria Smith, said that her company would have a “pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks.”
However, what they will not be doing is accepting crypto payments directly. “It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks,” a spokesperson for the company told Motherboard. Instead Bakkt will “convert digital assets like Bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks.”
Still hope for a crypto option one day
On the other hand, the spokesperson did not rule out taking crypto payments in the future. “We will continue to talk with customers and regulators as the space evolves,” they said, but for now they are only “announcing the launch of trading and conversion of Bitcoin.”
Starbucks has been at the forefront of new payment methods, with its mobile payments app boasting more users than Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. Those users, 23.4million in the US, at last count, made up 12% of all of its U.S. transactions in the first quarter of this year. Ms. Smith said that as a “leader” in mobile payment options, “Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”
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