Global coffee giant Starbucks has hinted that it will ‘probably’ use blockchain for payments as part of its latest payments app, a development that would mark one of the biggest retail use cases to date of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
The comments about the new payment app came from chairman Howard Schultz, who was discussing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology during a TV interview as part of a segment on Fox Business.
Intriguingly, Schultz suggested that Starbucks was looking at a proprietary cryptocurrency of its own, which could be used in connection with the payment app, with the chairman going on to confirm that the company would ‘probably’ head in the direction of blockchain payment technology within the app.
He confirmed that blockchain technology would most likely power the payments app, in order to facilitate a range of different payment methods.
“I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of.”
The news could see Starbucks becoming one of the biggest and most recognisable retailers to embrace the cryptocurrency model to date, and might be expected to encourage other similar businesses to follow suit.
Some analysts predict that companies like Starbucks will increasingly turn to blockchain technology and digital currencies for payments in the near future, in order to reap the benefits of distributed ledger technology.
However, as in the Starbucks case, this does not necessarily mean these companies will start accepting bitcoin.
For Starbucks, the remarks come just a matter of weeks after Schultz confirmed to investors that the firm plans to use blockchain technology in the near future, although simultaneously rejecting the idea that bitcoin will be accepted by the company as a payment method.
Instead, the Starbucks approach seems to revolve around the development of their own cryptocurrency. It remains to be seen whether their plans will materialise, and whether a so-called ‘StarbucksCoin’ might become a reality.
Either way, the comments highlight Starbucks as the latest in a series of global companies to examine blockchain technology, and the benefits cryptocurrencies can bring to their business.