Over the past few days it has been widely reported that Starbucks would be accepting payments in Bitcoin. It turns out that this is not actually the case as the company was quick to refute the reports.
The media frenzy started when the coffee giant announced the new “Bakkt platform”, a joint venture with the Intercontinental Stock Exchange (parent of the NYSE), Microsoft and others, that will enable “consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.” This was enough for latte aficionados to hail a new era of Bitcoin payments for their caffeine fixes.
The company went on the record over the weekend quashing any hopes of crypto-currency payments at Starbucks. “It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. Rather the exchange will convert digital assets like Bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks,” a company spokesperson told Motherboard before adding that “customers will not be able to pay for Frappuccinos with Bitcoin.”
However as this involves a big high-street name, this can still be seen as a significant step toward the mainstream for the embryonic crypto sector and shows a growing public awareness for digital assets. And while we may not be able to buy a latte in Starbucks using Bitcoin, there are still plenty of other outlets that do welcome the world’s most popular crypto-currency.
One of the first to accept Bitcoin payments was Overstock.com back in 2014 when the company partnered with crypto exchange Coinbase to enable customers to buy merchandise using BTC. Overstock, which sells big-ticket items at low prices, is also holding crypto-currencies and is a huge advocate for the fledgling industry.
Microsoft is also big into crypto and has enabled Bitcoin payments on its Xbox store for the past five years. The tech giant temporarily suspended payments due to extreme volatility in January this year, when digital currencies were at their peak prices, but has since resumed.
Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is another crypto advocate and has allowed clients to pay for services at his Virgin Galactic space flight venture with Bitcoin. The company includes Virgin Mobile and Virgin Airlines so paying for flights and travel is also possible using crypto-currency.
Newegg.com is another electronic retailer that accepts Bitcoin payments. It primarily sells computer hardware but has ventured into crypto mining hardware as demand has escalated over the past 12 months. There are many other online retailers, travel outlets, stores and companies that accept Bitcoin and they include Namecheap, Expedia, CheapAir, Playboy, Reddit, Subway, and KFC Canada.
Bitcoin ATMs are also becoming popular in major cities where consumers can buy digital currency using traditional “fiat” currency. So perhaps it is only a matter of time before Starbucks et al do finally start to accept digital currencies as a method of payment.