Will Bitcoin for Coffee – Can we use bitcoin at Starbucks?

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You may have seen a lot of back and forth over the past few days regarding the new partnership with Microsoft and Seattle based coffee giant, Starbucks. Rumors have leaked and stories have been skewed, so here we’re breaking it down and figuring out what’s going on and more importantly, can we buy our iced skinny venti three pump mocha latte using bitcoin?

The Starbucks app has saved a lot of our lives. As we rush to the office and grab our mobile order on the go or hop into the store to receive our free birthday drink… Well the next level of Starbucks was recently announced and then quickly retracted. We thought we would be able to pay for our coffee drinks with bitcoin, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Starbucks is working with Microsoft and ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) to develop Bakkt, a new cryptocurrency platform.

“It’s very big news for bitcoin because people say where can you spend it? Now at every single Starbucks.” Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM

In the first announcement of this partnership, customers thought they’d be able to buy their espresso using bitcoin, but we seem to have misunderstood. Bakkt will let customers buy, sell, store and send cryptocurrencies and should go into effect come November. Bakkt will essentially convert cryptocurrency into US dollar. People are a bit skeptical though due to volatility. Bitcoin has dropped almost 50% this year and within one day, its value can change by hundreds of dollars. But Starbucks may save the day. Will bitcoin break through and become a main form of currency? The store is currently a leader in Mobile Pay to over 15 million Rewards members, so their effort to innovate only makes sense.

But what people don’t know is this isn’t the first time Starbucks has jumped on the Bitcoin train. Back in 2015, the coffee shop partnered with the Fold app, a US based startup affiliated with the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong. All Starbucks locations in Hong Kong were accepting bitcoin.

After misconceptions about this “new form” of payment, a statement announced,

“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.” The spokesperson continues, “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.” Spokesperson 

Starbucks isn’t the only company who has this idea. Major online retailers like CheapAir, Expedia and Overstock.com have already been using cryptocurrency.

It sounds like there are some details that still need to be worked out. But we’ll find out more before the November launch.

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