Stripe May Onboard Bitcoin Support Again – CEO

Stripe May Onboard Bitcoin Support Again – CEO

As bitcoin goes mainstream, winning more and more institutional interests, many who had shunned the cryptocurrency in the past are beginning to rethink their decision.

Fintech company, Stripe, which divorced bitcoin three years ago, is considering accepting cryptocurrency as a method of payment in the future, co-founder John Collison said Tuesday.

The company ended support for bitcoin payments in 2018, citing volatility and a lack of efficiency in making everyday transactions. But there has been a lot of positive changes since then even though the volatility concerns remain.

The number of institutions that have adopted cryptocurrency has increased significantly, and so are countries and new ideas such as the non-fungible token (NFT), Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) that have been incorporated into blockchain ledger.

Given the remarkable progress, Collins said: “We don’t yet but I think it’s not implausible that we would,” when asked whether Stripe would offer crypto support again.

“Crypto obviously means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Collison said at a CNBC-moderated panel at the Fintech Abu Dhabi festival on Tuesday.

Collison said there were some aspects to crypto — such as its use as a speculative investment — that are “not that relevant to what we do at Stripe.”

But, he added: “There have been a lot of developments of late with an eye to making cryptocurrencies better and, in particular, scalable and acceptable cost as a payment method.”

Cryptocurrency’s DeFi’s system has largely buoyed its mainstream acceptance, especially as it offers cheaper transaction fees compared with traditional financial institutions.

Evolving Web3, a web version of DeFi, is also fanning the frenzy, as many companies are positioning for the future decentralized internet. Stripe recently formed a team dedicated to exploring crypto and Web3, a sign that the company is rekindling its interest in bitcoin.

Per CNBC, Guillaume Poncin, Stripe’s head of engineering, is leading the effort. In addition, the company appointed Matt Huang, co-founder of crypto-focused venture capital firm Paradigm, to its board of directors earlier this month.

Collison said there are a number of innovations emerging in digital assets that have potential, including solana — a competitor to ethereum, the world’s second-biggest digital currency — to “Layer 2” systems like bitcoin’s Lightning Network, which aim to speed up transactions and process them at a lower cost.

Stripe is a big name in the financial industry, processing transactions for partners like Uber, Google and Amazon.  With $95 billion value and high profile investors such as Baillie Gifford, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, Stripe has become the largest privately-held fintech company in the U.S., a record for a company founded in 2009.

The company has gone on acquisition spree in recent years, acquiring fintech startups around the world. Late last year, Stripe acquired Nigerian fintech startup, Paystack, for a record $200 million. Now it is diversifying to areas such as insurance and loans.

With the huge influence it holds in the financial industry, Stripe onboarding bitcoin once again will become a big boost to the cryptocurrency that has erased a lot of gains recently, following a market pullback.

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