Starbucks is jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon.
The Seattle-based coffee giant is working with Microsoft and a leading global exchange on a new digital platform that will allow consumers to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at Starbucks.
Starbucks along with Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft and BCG, among others, is working to launch a new company called Bakkt that will enable consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend cryptocurrencies on the global network by November. The platform with convert bitcoin and other cryptocoins into U.S. dollars that can be used to buy a Cold Foam Cascara Cold Brew, Matcha Lemonade or anything else at Starbucks.
“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,” Maria Smith, vice president of partnerships and payments for Starbucks, said in a statement. “As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”
Cryptocurrency skeptics have challenged its use for payments because of its volatility. Bitcoin for example, has dropped by roughly 50 percent this year, and its value often changes by hundreds of dollars in a single day.
But with Starbucks taking cryptocurrency seriously, it could help bitcoin break through as a mainstream currency. It could also be bullish for prices, which have struggled to find footing since the end of 2017.
“It’s very big news for bitcoin because people say, ‘Where can you spend it?’ Now at every single Starbucks,” said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM. “Starbucks is seeing some kind of demand for acceptance of crypto and bitcoin, and to tie up with a huge regulated institution like the ICE is really positive for the space.”
Starbucks would not be the first retailer to accept digital assets. Overstock.com was the first to accept bitcoin in 2014. Expedia, Shopify and CheapAir have also said they accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment.