Would Amazon Catapult Bitcoin into mainstream finance?
Here we take a look into the recent series of events surrounding online retail giant Amazon – from an intriguing job listing to a supposed company insider, and, now, the big-name impact on the cryptocurrency market.
The multi-million-dollar retail giant, Amazon, caused quite a stir when they advertised an opening for the position of a Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Lead on 22nd July 2021. The advertised position has led many to speculate that Amazon is set on forging a path towards mainstream cryptocurrency transactions and payments.
In an article published on 26th July 2021, an anonymous “insider” from Amazon told City A.M. that the move was not just “… going through the motions to set up cryptocurrency payment solutions at some point in the future” but “a full-on, well-discussed, integral part of the future mechanism of how Amazon will work.” The statement has since been retracted.
With the directive apparently coming from the company’s Founder and Executive Chair, Jeff Bezos himself, the source claimed that Amazon is moving towards creating fast and secure payment options working with cryptocurrency. According to the “Insider”, the project would start with the most prominent cryptocurrency on the market, Bitcoin, and then bring eight of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world into the circuit. The plans having been in place as early as 2019, according to the source. If this was not enough, the “Insider” also claims that Amazon has plans to establish its own native token, but there’s nothing concrete on that front yet.
But why crypto?
Cryptocurrencies by their very nature are decentralized and fungible, meaning they are not controlled by any governing body. Each token has the same, interchangeable value. By establishing a cryptocurrency wallet that allows you to purchase products on the platform, Amazon would have a more global payment option. This would allow transactions to take place without having differences in various international currencies.
Speaking at the Bitcoin-focused B-word conference held on 21st July 2021, the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, claimed that the company would “most likely” resume taking Bitcoin as payment. The electric carmaker had previously discontinued Bitcoin payment due to environmental concerns. Bitcoin saw a sudden hike in value after Musk’s statement despite having been in a slump the previous week.
The speculation of Amazon accepting payment in bitcoin sent the market into a similar frenzy, a very visual proof of the influence that the company stands to have over the crypto-market. Even the supposed backing of the two big-name companies sending prices skyrocketing.
As of 27th July 2021 Amazon has denied the claim of adopting Bitcoin as a payment option. An Amazon Spokesperson, responding to Gizmodo, said, “Notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true. We remain focused on exploring what this could look like for customers shopping on Amazon”.
So while Amazon is yet to throw its hat into the fray, cryptocurrencies may still find their big break in mainstream retail in the near future.