Stripe to End Support for Bitcoin Payments

Payment processor Stripe has announced that it will end support for bitcoin payments in April, citing rising transaction fees and confirmation times, as well as a decline in bitcoin revenues from businesses that currently use Stripe to accept cryptocurrency payments.

“Our hope was that Bitcoin could become a universal, decentralized substrate for online transactions and help our customers enable buyers in places that had less credit card penetration or use cases where credit card fees were prohibitive,” wrote Stripe’s Tom Karlo in a blog post.

However, Karlo notes that bitcoin has largely evolved from a currency into an asset since the company began processing bitcoin payments in 2014.

“Given the overall success that the Bitcoin community has achieved, it’s hard to quibble with the decisions that have been made along the way,” he said, but he noted that bitcoin’s evolution has resulted in a marked decline in its utility for everyday payments.

The company specifically pointed to bitcoin’s rising median transaction fee, which peaked as high as $34 in mid-December. Karlo said that transaction confirmation times have also become an issue, as the bitcoin price often fluctuates dramatically before the network processes the payment.

Effective immediately, Stripe will begin winding down its support for bitcoin, although businesses that currently accept bitcoin through the company can continue to do so until April 23.

Stripe is not the first mainstream company to rescind support for bitcoin due to its evolution from a currency into an asset. Video game retailer Steam recently stopped accepting bitcoin payments, and Microsoft briefly did as well, but the tech giant later reversed its stance.

Although Stripe is ending support for bitcoin, Karlo stressed that the company is still “very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall,” particularly the Lightning Network, Ethereum, and OmiseGO.

He also said that the company may add support for stellar, a project to which Stripe contributed seed funding, and he added that the firm “can certainly imagine enabling support” for cryptocurrencies in the future.”

“It’s possible that Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or another Bitcoin variant, will find a way to achieve significant popularity while keeping settlement times and transaction fees very low,” he concluded. “Bitcoin itself may become viable for payments again in the future. And, of course, there’ll be more ideas and technologies in the years ahead.”

David Murray

David has been following the development of cryptocurrency technology for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.

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