In his latest conference call, Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz waxed on the emerging arena of cryptocurrencies, arguing that a few promising crypto projects will supersede bitcoin. Schultz didn’t name specific coins, but his comments do come at a time when bitcoin’s market share in the cryptoeconomy hovers near the historically low 34 percent mark.
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Schultz: “What Could Happen”
After Wall Street closed on January 25th, Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz hunkered down into a conference call in which, at one point, he postulated there’d eventually end up being “one or a few legitimate” cryptocurrencies, but that bitcoin wouldn’t be among them.
“I don’t believe that bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future,” Schultz argued. Giving the exec the rhetorical benefit of the doubt, since bitcoin is literally used as a currency all over the world today, Schultz suggests bitcoin has too much baggage whereas newer projects could surge higher into general adoption.
Schultz was practical, noting that it could be several years before another blockchain gains the trust needed to take the number one market capitalization spot from bitcoin:
“I’m talking about … the possibility of what could happen — not in the near term, but in a few years from now — with a consumer application in which there’s trust and legitimacy with regard to a digital currency.”
The executive chairman for America’s hottest coffee chain also clarified that just because he was commenting on crypto didn’t mean Starbucks would be joining the ecosystem at the moment.
“I’m not bringing this up because Starbucks is announcing that we are forming a digital currency or we’re investing in this,” Schultz explained. “I’m bringing this up … as we think about the future of our company and the future of consumer behavior.”
And that last line is the grand takeaway: more and more major mainstream players are coming around to the fact that blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies really are the future.
Starbucks Going Cashless?
In December 2017 comments to the press, Schultz indicated that Starbucks was beginning to make preparations for a potentially “cashless” future.
How? Well, for starters, the company is currently experimenting with a Starbucks store in Seattle, Washington, that is entirely cashless. If the project is a success, there’s no reason to think the company wouldn’t roll out the dynamic to further franchises.
And if the cryptocurrency craze continues to hit critical mass, Starbucks may not have a choice. Everything’s trending toward the death of paper money, and visionaries won’t be left behind. As Schultz puts it, “payment and payment platforms are continuing to evolve.”
What’s your take? Is Schultz onto something, is it best to prepare for a cashless society sooner rather than later? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Slate, Starbucks