January 25, 2018
Bitcoin’s continuing volatility has led another major player in the online payments industry to back off the digital currency. M-commerce payment pioneer Stripe this week said the cryptocurrency, which it began supporting for merchants in 2014, “has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange.”
In a post on the company’s corporate blog, Tom Karlo, Stripe’s product manager for Payment Methods & Dashboard, pointed to several developments that led the company to make the decision to end support for bitcoin as an online payment method.
“Transaction confirmation times have risen substantially,” Karlo wrote. “This, in turn, has led to an increase in the failure rate of transactions denominated in fiat currencies. (By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in Bitcoin price mean that it’s for the ‘wrong’ amount). Furthermore, fees have risen a great deal. For a regular Bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of U.S. dollars is common, making Bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires.”
The past year has seen the value of a bitcoin soar from around $2,000 to $20,000 before falling back to nearly $10,000. As Karlo implied, if a currency’s value isn’t stable, it makes confirming transactions of a specific amount difficult, especially if there is a delay.
Stripe said its merchants have reported declining bitcoin transactions and less interest overall in the digital currency as a payment method. The company said it will stop processing bitcoin transactions on April 23 of this year.