Stripe says it’s open to accepting crypto for payments, three years after ending bitcoin support

Finance

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John Collison, President and co-founder of Stripe, attends the 2018 Viva Tech conference in Paris.
Christophe Morin | IP3 | Getty Images

Stripe isn’t ruling out accepting cryptocurrency as a method of payment in the future, according to co-founder John Collison.

The online payments company ended support for bitcoin payments in 2018, citing the digital coin’s notoriety for volatile price swings and a lack of efficiency in making everyday transactions.

“Crypto obviously means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Collison said at a CNBC-moderated panel at the Fintech Abu Dhabi festival on Tuesday.

Collison said there were some aspects to crypto — such as its use as a speculative investment — that are “not that relevant to what we do at Stripe.”

But, he added: “There have been a lot of developments of late with an eye to making cryptocurrencies better and, in particular, scalable and acceptable cost as a payment method.”

Asked whether Stripe would start accepting crypto as a method of payment again, Collison said: “We don’t yet, but I think it’s not implausible that we would.”

The company recently formed a team dedicated to exploring crypto and “Web3,” a buzzword in tech that refers to a new, decentralized version of the internet.

The effort is being led by Guillaume Poncin, Stripe’s head of engineering. Earlier this month, the company appointed Matt Huang, co-founder of crypto-focused venture capital firm Paradigm, to its board of directors.

Collison said there are a number of innovations emerging in digital assets that have potential, including solana — a competitor to ethereum, the world’s second-biggest digital currency — to “Layer 2” systems like bitcoin’s Lightning Network, which aim to speed up transactions and process them at a lower cost.

Founded in 2009, Stripe has quickly become the largest privately-held fintech company in the U.S. The company was last valued at $95 billion and counts the likes of Baillie Gifford, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz as investors.

The company, which processes payments for the likes of Google, Amazon and Uber, has expanded into a number of other areas in finance lately, including loans and tax management.

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