Stripe Has Decided to Drop Bitcoin Support

Alicia Cross
January 25, 2018

Digital currencies hold the promise of handling transactions quickly, securely and inexpensively, making them a technology that likely will transform mobile payments dramatically in the coming years.

Stripe, the company which helps over 100,000 businesses successfully perform online financial transactions, is to round off its almost four-year support for Bitcoin payments.

Online payments processor Stripe is the latest big company to withdraw its support for Bitcoin, though it has not given up on the utility of cryptocurrencies altogether.

Even as companies gravitate toward cryptocurrency, one of the earliest bitcoin supporters has elected to sever ties with the digital currency.

"Transaction confirmation times have risen substantially; this, in turn, has led to an increase in the failure rate of transactions denominated in fiat currencies", said Karlo.

Karlo added that fees for regular bitcoin transactions were as expensive as bank wires - amounting to several tens of dollars per transaction.

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According to Stripe product manager Tom Carlo, Bitcoin is no longer fit for goal as a currency for transactions that need to take place in a speedy manner. This has led to bitcoin becoming less useful for payments.

Payment processing giant Stripe has stopped supporting Bitcoin on its platform, according to a company blog.

"There are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with bitcoin makes sense", said Tom Karlo, Stripe's product manager. Separately, Stripe said Bitcoin users now saw the virtual currency largely as an "asset" to be bought and sold, rather than something a means of exchange.

Stripe also refused to rule out the possibility that bitcoin will one day become viable for payments again. In the meantime, Stripe has grown into a major force with a $US9.2 billion ($11.5 billion) valuation, and bitcoin seems more important than ever.

It added that it remains optimistic about cryptocurrencies and would continue to add support for them in the future. Mr Karlo said: "OmiseGO is an ambitious and clever proposal; more broadly, Ethereum continues to spawn many high-potential projects". At the time, Patrick Collison said: "We acknowledge that bitcoin is important today ... it may or may not be important in five years". The announcement also indicated an interest in Lightning network, which is under testing and development, and a mentioned Stellar (the company behind Lumens (XLM)) as a possible candidate for future support.

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