Stripe ends support for bitcoin payments

Stripe cofounders Patrick and John Collison

Today, Stripe reiterated its support for a viable digital currency, but said that bitcoin just isn't cutting it. He added, "It may or may not be important in five years".

Stripe, the San Francisco, California-based company that helps thousands of businesses do financial transactions online, will soon stop accepting bitcoin payments.

"By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in bitcoin price mean that it's for the "wrong" amount", he said.

"For a regular Bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of US dollars is common, making Bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires", explained Karlo. Combined, he said that all these issues had led bitcoin users to view the virtual currency as an "asset" to be traded, rather than something to make payments with. "The fact that Stripe, the first major payments company that supported Bitcoin, is now scrapping such support is an interesting case in point". Maybe in Zimbabwe not so much considering that our use for Bitcoin is quite different from the rest of the world (store of value, remittances, global payments etc.). It allowed residents from more than 60 different countries to pay merchants on Stripe's network using bitcoin. Stripe's Bitcoin abandonment follows a similar move from Visa, in which the credit card giant froze the accounts of pre-paid Bitcoin debit card providers.

Stripe said it will still remain open about Bitcoin: we will still keen monitoring what's happening.

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Stripe said in a blog post that one of the main reasons it is pulling back is because "Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange".

Bitcoin transaction fees had also risen "a great deal" resulting in a decrease in demand from Stripe's customers to accept Bitcoin payments, he said. Gaming platform Steam announced previous year that they would stop taking payments in Bitcoin due to the high transaction fees involved.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see other payment vendors in the space determine it's not cost effective or provide enough utility at the moment to warrant supporting it", he continued.

The company said it remains optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall and discussed the strength of some altcoins such as Lightning, OmiseGO, Ethereum, Stellar, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

On Tuesday, however, product manager Tom Karlo announced that the company will be winding down support for bitcoin payments.