Amazon boss says company not close to crypto payments

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It’s unlikely you’ll be able to pay with crypto on Amazon in the near future, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Key points

  • Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company won’t be adding crypto payments anytime soon, although it may sell NFTs at some point in the future.
  • A number of major retailers are considering crypto payment options.
  • Buy-and-hold investors may not want to pay with crypto.

Cryptocurrency payments likely won’t be an option at Amazon’s checkout anytime soon, though the retail giant may eventually sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Several major retailers are exploring the benefits of crypto payments, but investors should be aware of some issues.

Amazon and Cryptography

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy spoke to CNBC following his first annual letter to shareholders since replacing Jeff Bezos at the helm. He said he does not own any bitcoin (BTC), although he is optimistic about the future of crypto. “We’re probably not close to adding crypto as a payment mechanism in our retail business, but I think over time you’ll see crypto getting bigger,” he said.

Jassy was particularly positive about NFTs. NFTs are a kind of digital ownership certificate for all kinds of items including art, collectibles, music, video, gaming items and more. The NFT market took off last year and the CEO foresees further growth in this sector. He said it’s possible that at some point in the future, Amazon will sell NFTs on its platform.

Back in July, the crypto rumor mill was awash with speculation that Amazon might be accepting bitcoin payments. It was the result of a company job posting for a digital currency and blockchain product manager and quotes from an inside source in a London newspaper. However, the retail giant was quick to quash the gossip. He said he has no specific crypto plans and the speculation just isn’t true.

It looks like Amazon is still monitoring the space, but any crypto enthusiasts hoping to use their assets to pay on the e-commerce giant will have to wait.

Pay with crypto

Amazon is not the only retailer to have been the subject of crypto speculation. A Walmart trademark filing earlier this year hinted at potential metaverse ambitions. eBay’s CEO recently said the company is taking a deep look at crypto payments. Additionally, Europe’s largest department store chain, El Corte Inglés, has partnered with Deloitte to offer crypto exchange services to its customers.

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Additional ways to pay with crypto are one facet of the growing levels of mainstream adoption we’ve seen in recent years. It’s not just Bitcoin, as several crypto payment options have sprung up. Some offer faster transaction times and lower transaction costs than granddaddy crypto. The rise of GovCoins or central bank digital currencies can also muddy the waters. Retailers can choose to accept these centralized digital payments instead of decentralized and volatile cryptos.

However, for investors, the prospect of crypto payments is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, increased adoption is crucial if Bitcoin – or any other cryptocurrency – is to realize its potential as the future global digital currency. Additionally, many believe that cryptocurrency could offer people who don’t have easy access to bank accounts another form of payment and a way to transfer money.

On the other hand, most buy-and-hold investors do not want to spend their crypto. The idea is to hold it for the long term, which is why some see Bitcoin as a type of digital gold. Additionally, paying with crypto could also have tax implications. When you spend your cryptocurrency, it is a taxable event, just as if you had sold that asset. Investors and spenders should watch out for cryptocurrency taxes to avoid unexpected bills at tax time.

At the end of the line

The idea of ​​cryptocurrency payments is exciting. Some people, like Block’s Jack Dorsey, think Bitcoin could be the currency of the future. Every retailer that accepts crypto payments is one step closer to that dream.

However, it is an evolving space and there are many questions to be addressed. Amazon’s hesitant approach reflects the complex nature of these types of transactions. There could be benefits, but we still have a long way to go.

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Laura J. Boyer