Payments platform Stripe will stop supporting bitcoin in April, citing the cryptocurrency’s volatility and long transaction times, among other things. It’s a logical decision, but one likely to anger the easily provoked crypto-crowd.
The problems with BTC are hard to deny for anyone who use it regularly. For one thing, entering a transfer into the blockchain may take hours, which is already a bummer for merchant transactions, but during that delay the value of the transferred BTC may also have shifted considerably, producing the wrong fiat dollar value.
Fees have also increased as the value of BTC has risen, something that has stifled commerce and trading using the coin elsewhere as well.
As Stripe’s Tom Karlo points out, the truth is that BTC has evolved to become an asset rather than a currency, and is simply unsuitable for transactions that need to resolve in seconds or minutes at the outside. The platform, he writes, has seen a major decrease in BTC transactions.
Stripe started taking bitcoin back in 2014, after the coin first topped $1,000 and people really started taking it seriously. And the company insists that it remains optimistic about the cryptocurrency ecosystem and name-checks a few projects: Lightning, OmiseGO, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin. And, Karlo writes, Stripe may support Stellar, in which the company has a stake.
Diehard bitcoin types may complain that the option should be remain, that it costs little to accommodate those who choose to use this method, and that this may be a short-sighted, self-fulfilling prophecy that further seals the fate of BTC as a transaction medium.
But it seems to me that Stripe is merely being realistic and embracing the ideals of decentralized currency that bitcoin has advanced, though which it failed to attain. Bitcoin must die (as a way to buy stuff, anyway) that cryptocurrency may live!
Stripe support for bitcoin will end on April 23, so live it up until then.