During a recently held first quarter earnings conference call, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz revealed that he is very much interested in the future of cryptocurrency and how one day it could be the preferred mode of payment for major retailers. The coffee house chain is also apparently studying the possible applications of cryptocurrency and how it might be able to take advantage of its features for its own stores. However, Schultz explained during the meeting that he doesn’t believe that bitcoin will be the currency of the future. Instead, there might be one or a few digital currencies that will prevail as the currency of choice in the near future.
According to the 64-year-old businessman, the legitimacy of the prevailing digital currency may be determined by the adoption of a well-known brand or a brick and mortar entity that has already established its reputation. Blockchain technology is currently still in its infancy, but its decentralized nature and security features will become a big advantage to both consumers and retailers if ever it gets global adoption. Based on Schultz’s statement, Starbucks is likely just waiting for a reigning cryptocurrency to rise up, one which large-scale retailers are willing to adopt. According to a report from Market Watch, Schultz also clarified that they are not interested in creating their own cryptocurrency and that doing so would be highly inefficient since making a company-specific currency would, in fact, be counterintuitive.
There are currently hundreds of cryptocurrencies in the market aside from bitcoin, with one popping up every now and then with the hopes of rising to become the preferred digital currency for the masses. Some coins disappear after investors lose interest, while others are slowly being adopted for different applications. Bitcoin is the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency, but being the first may have its drawbacks. Alternative coins such as Ethereum are more optimized for certain transactions such as secure payments for retailers.
“I don’t believe that bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future. I personally believe that there is going to be one or a few legitimate, trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology.”
Several major retailers have already revealed their interest in adopting certain cryptocurrencies. Companies like Microsoft, Expedia, Newegg, and online Shopify stores already accept bitcoins as payment. In Japan, local retailers such as Peach Airline, Bic Camera, and Capsule Hotel are already accepting cryptocurrency payments. Unfortunately, not all countries are so accepting of the new technology. South Korea recently cracked down on local cryptocurrency exchanges, forcing several companies to close down their operations. China also shut down several cryptocurrency mining operations, which drastically affected the digital currency’s value in the days that followed.