Stripe, the digital payments processor that handles electronic transactions for Lyft, Glossier, Target, Habitat for Humanity, and more, will no longer allow Bitcoin on its platform after April 23, 2018.
The company announced in a blog post on Tuesday that Stripe is dropping support for Bitcoin due to the network’s slow confirmation times and high fees, which have made it impractical as a way to pay for most things.
"Because of this, we’ve seen the desire from our customers to accept Bitcoin decrease,” Stripe’s blog post states. “And of the businesses that are accepting Bitcoin on Stripe, we’ve seen their revenues from Bitcoin decline substantially. Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense."
Stripe is the latest in a string of high-profile entities to stop accepting Bitcoin as payment for similar reasons. Last year, video game marketplace Steam and Microsoft both stopped accepting Bitcoin (Microsoft has since reinstated it). These events cast even more doubt on the idea that Bitcoin will ever be money, as more people start to see its future as being a store of value like gold.
“Over the past year or two, as block size limits have been reached, Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange,” Stripe’s blog post states.
Bitcoin’s price is still floating above $10,000 USD for 1 BTC—compared to $800 one year ago—despite some recent downturns, but large companies dropping support for the cryptocurrency threatens that monetary position and the technology’s future. After all, newer cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash promote themselves as being more capable than Bitcoin in different ways.
A fix for Bitcoin’s slow confirmation times and high fees might be on the way, in the form of a technology called the Lightning Network, which essentially builds a decentralized batching solution for transactions on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. The network is not enterprise-grade, however, and just entered public testing.
Until something changes, or everyone collectively decides that bitcoins are every bit as real and valuable as a brick of gold, Stripe’s abandonment is yet another nail in the coffin of Bitcoin being “magic internet money.”
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