It’s always used as the true test of cryptocurrencies going mainstream: being able to effortlessly buy a morning cup of coffee.
Constantly referenced by crypto evangelists and entrepreneurs, it’s become the litmus test for widespread adoption.
And now, reports suggest that the world’s biggest chain of coffee houses is on the verge of accepting Bitcoin for brews.
According to The Block, Starbucks’ partnership with the US platform Bakkt will see the retail giant offer crypto as a payment method for its products.
The report indicates that, when a coffee lover has paid for their latte or cappuccino, their cryptocurrency would instantly be converted into fiat – otherwise known as your old-fashioned currencies such as dollars, pounds and euros.
If true, this development would be a massive boost for the crypto industry, which has long struggled to prove that it can have everyday practical uses beyond being a store of value.
Starbucks had almost 30,000 outlets around the world in 2018, but it is believed that Bakkt’s technology would initially only be available in the US, where the coffee chain has more than 14,000 stores. Users of Ethereum and Litecoin may be left disappointed, as it looks like supported cryptocurrencies will be limited to Bitcoin initially.
Where the deal began
The formation of Bakkt was announced back in August 2018 by Intercontinental Exchange, the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange. At the time, it said the platform was being built using Microsoft’s cloud technology – adding that Starbucks would be one of its partners.
Maria Smith, the vice president of partnerships and payments at Starbucks, had said:
“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.
“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.”
There was some confusion in the mainstream media following on from last summer’s announcement. Major organisations reported that this would mean crypto holders could pay for Frappuccinos using Bitcoin, which forced Starbucks to reiterate that its role was to ensure that digital assets could be converted into US dollars so a purchase could be made.
The latest reports do indicate that Starbucks is going one step further now, and a successful rollout could pave the way for other major retailers and merchants to embrace the technology – potentially unlocking a wealth of new custom.