Starbucks Tries to Clean Up Its Bitcoin Mess

August 6, 2018, 10:49 AM UTC

Starbucks would like to clear up all this Bitcoin confusion.

The coffee chain, in an an email to tech and science publication Motherboard, said that “it is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. 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.”

What necessitated that explanation?

Starbucks announced on Friday that it would be trading in Bitcoin, alongside Microsoft and International Exchange (owner of the New York Stock Exchange), in a partnership called Bakkt. A flurry of news headlines suggested that the announcement meant that customers would be able to pay for their coffees using Bitcoin.

The excitement may have come about because, as Motherboard put it, to date “it’s basically impossible to buy anything normal with it [Bitcoin].”

But based on Starbucks’ later statement, the closest that customers can expect to come to paying for their coffee with Bitcoin—for the time being, at least—is that the exchange will convert digital assets like Bitcoin into U.S. dollars, which can indeed be used at Starbucks.

Aside from the traditional cash or card, customers currently have the option of paying for Starbucks items with the chain’s popular mobile app which reportedly outpaces Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

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