Is Starbucks going to accept cryptocurrency soon or not?! Clearing up the statements & headlines causing confusion...

A couple days ago even outlets considered to be 'mainstream news' were dropping headlines like "New Starbucks partnership with Microsoft allows customers to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin" (CNBC) and "Starbucks Will Accept Bitcoin For Lattes Later This Year" (Fortune).

Today however, Starbucks is clarifying their position:

“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 spokesperson for Starbucks said in an email.

What they're referring to is their new cryptocurrency venture with the owners of New York Stock Exchange and Microsoft, called "Bakkt" - the full story on that can be found here.

But Starbucks is being careful - they aren't saying they won't accept cryptocurrency in the near future either, adding:

"We will continue to talk with customers and regulators as the space evolves.”

Here's my issue with all of this - why is Starbucks taking a major role in a cryptocurrency based company if accepting cryptocurrency in their stores isn't part of the plan?

Well, in my opinion - it is part of the plan!  What isn't part of the plan is announcing it yet.

What we're seeing is a company 'controlling the narrative' - that means they don't want people talking about Starbucks accepting cryptocurrency until Starbucks officially announces that it's happening. 

Bakkt will launch months before Starbucks would accept cryptocurrency anyway, but if the public expects this to all happen at once and it doesn't, it looks like a failure when it isn't. 

Starbucks wants to make sure they have the time, and freedom needed to privately figure out how all this will work - without worrying about meeting any expectations from the public.

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle News Desk