On Friday, Starbucks announced a new cryptocurrency venture with Microsoft and Intercontinental Exchange (owner of the New York Stock Exchange) called Bakkt.
Perhaps because Starbucks is best known as a coffee retailer, and digital currencies such as Bitcoin are still painfully lacking in places to spend them, a whole bunch of news outlets took the announcement to mean that customers will soon be able to buy their Venti-whatever with cryptocurrency. CNBC ran with the headline “New Starbucks partnership with Microsoft allows customers to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin.”
According to Starbucks spokespeople, however, this is not the case. Starbucks doesn’t want bitcoins, but it’s willing to help people spend them—the venture is an exchange that will allow people to convert their cryptocurrency into US dollars, which they can then spend at Starbucks locations. Starbucks’ role in the partnership as the flagship retailer is to consult and develop applications for this purpose.
“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,” a Starbucks spokesperson wrote me in an email. “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.”
“Customers will not be able to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin,” the spokesperson wrote.
Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter .