In a recent conference call, Howard Schultz – the executive chairman of global coffee chain, Starbucks – stated quite categorically that he did not feel that Bitcoin was in a position to establish itself as a legitimate currency. Whilst he thinks that there may be one or two of the current crop of cryptocurrencies that might one day become a recognised and dependable financial solution, he does not think that Bitcoin will be one of them, insisting that it is currently in a bubble.
However, despite his lack of faith in Bitcoin itself, Schultz does have an interest in the blockchain technology that supports it, and can see its application in dozens of industries across the world. Indeed, he hinted in his call that he would not be averse to investigating the technology’s use within the Starbucks infrastructure.
Schultz admitted that he is intrigued by the possibilities of the platform, but is not looking to jump into the sudden maelstrom surrounding blockchain, just because it is the fashionable thing to do. The possibilities he speaks of are nothing that will occur in the near term, but rather a few years down the line, once the digital currency market can be trusted.
This seems to be an oblique reference to the volatility of Bitcoin, the value of which rocketed to $20,000 at the tail end of 2017, only to drop almost immediately to a more sedate $11,000. That sort of unpredictability simply isn’t attractive to a globally-recognised brand.
However, in a recent CNBC interview, a representative of Starbucks announced that the company was about to pilot its first cashless operation in Seattle, noting that both payment platforms and payments are constantly evolving, and that the coffee giant intends to be ahead of the pack in that race.
All of which suggests an interest in either partnering with an altcoin provider, or developing one of their own. In any event, it seems that Bitcoin is not on the horizon as someone Starbucks would want to get into bed with.
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