The coffeehouse chain Starbucks has been looking into cryptocurrency for quite some time, and its intentions have finally been confirmed. According to reports, Starbucks will begin accepting bitcoin (BTC) payments in its United States branches.
Starbucks’ executive chairman and former CEO Howard Schultz first spoke about crypto during the company’s Q1 2018 earnings call. Schultz seemed to be skeptical regarding bitcoin at the time, saying it won’t be “a currency today or in the future.”
However, he did suggest that another cryptocurrency might succeed instead. “I’m bringing this up because as we think about the future of our company and the future of consumer behavior, I personally believe that there is going to be a one or a few legitimate trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology,” he said.
The Seattle-headquartered coffee giant announced itself as one of Bakkt’s key partners in August 2018, alongside Microsoft and consultancy Boston Consulting Group. According to the original press release, Starbucks will not only be working with Bakkt to create its platform, but it’ll also use it to accept cryptocurrency payments.
“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks,” said Maria Smith, vice president of partnerships and payments at Starbucks.
The news sparked misleading headlines, leading many customers to believe they would be able to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin. However, the coffee retailer was quick to clarify, in which a Starbucks spokesperson told Vice:
“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. At the current time, we are announcing the launch of trading and conversion of Bitcoin. However, we will continue to talk with customers and regulators as the space evolves.”