Just when everyone thought it was just another distraction by the nerdy coders of this world and not to be taken seriously, the price of one bitcoin appreciated from just around $0.008 per bitcoin to $0.08 per coin appreciating more than 900% in between 2 months in 2010 after the infamous event of purchasing just one pizza with 10,000 bitcoins. And boom! Everyone’s attention swung towards the digital asset, at least those in Wall Street who love to trade gains got interested. With its’ usual meteoric rise, the price of bitcoin hits all-time high and like a fugazi, it fritters away with horrific speed bashing the most erudite technical analysis put forward by experts oftentimes leaving them hopelessly aghast.
With the usual jamboree observed being celebrated by crypto lovers and general cryptocurrency communities whenever an industry giant drums support for bitcoin or other digital assets, the disappointment is usually palpable when the plug is pulled on digital assets. In this piece, let’s take a look at some of the big guns who have rejected bitcoin and other digital assets after initially giving their blessings.
In the wake of January, many of the users of Fiverr, an Israeli based freelance giant were hit with the shocking news of Fiverr’s abrupt stop of its support for Bitcoin the foremost digital asset. The exact mail sent by Fiverr team reads
“We noticed that you previously used Bitcoin to purchase services on Fiverr. Effective January 19, 2017, Bitcoin will no longer be accepted as a form of payment on Fiverr. However, you will still be able to make purchases using your debit or credit card, PayPal, or Fiverr credit. Thank you for your understanding, Fiverr Team”
While this came as a rude shock to users who preferred the bitcoin payment option, Fiverr didn’t bother to explicitly state their reasons for their decision thereby giving room for speculations. Many cited the recent laws the state of Israel enacted taxing bitcoin and other digital assets for being classified as properties rather than currency as their reason. Some other users didn’t appear to care much as they felt it was best for bitcoin as it caused an enormous sell pressure on the digital asset due to Fiverr never paying sellers who chose the option of being paid in bitcoin. Fiverr constantly exercised its full powers as the middleman, converting to fiat before crediting the sellers (freelancers).
However the perception of freelancers and the general public had about this incident, you will agree with me that for a platform which generates huge revenues and is home to more than 3 million freelancers reported to have grown by over 600% in just around 8 years of its existence while ranking among the top 450 sites globally, no doubt triggered some seismic shocks.
Expedia a popular travel giant is another big name that aborted its support for bitcoin it had given to the foremost digital currency as far back as 2014. Expedia.com is a travel booking website owned by Expedia Group. The website can be used to book airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. In 2018, it silently stopped accepting payment from its users in bitcoin citing slow transactions confirmation, difficulty in facilitating transactions, high transactions fees and double charges where users who had made payment using bitcoin still had to use their cards for payment as key reasons. For a company like Expedia whose gross booking amounted to approximately 99.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, the exposure and adoption bitcoin and perhaps other digital assets such as the Ripple coin, Ethereum, Stellar Lumen etc., would have continued to enjoy is undoubtedly a huge miss for digital assets.
Reddit is another notable platform that stopped accepting bitcoin for subscription of its gold membership feature of its platform. Reddit cited the difficulty of accessing bitcoin payment option by its users and the change in Coinbase’s decision to discontinue their Merchant Tool product in favor of Coinbase Commerce policy by Coinbase as its’ reason for removing the crypto payment option from its platform. While this may not be seen to matter much, Reddit as a platform commands monthly views of up to 18 billion, 330 million registered redditors, with over 150,000 communities known as subreddits.
The technology giant dealt a massive blow to the hype already out there when it was reported by the press that it will no longer give its’ customers the option of redeeming bitcoin on its platform from the 26th of December 2017. While it didn’t explicitly state the reason for its decision, reading comments from its employees in different forums one gets the picture that this was done not because of any regulatory demands or anything of such, but would rather infer operational difficulties as the prime reasons for this development.
A major online gaming stream company announced it no longer supported bitcoin due to the extreme case of volatility and high transactions charges. This made the purchase of games by customers on its platform difficult as the window of opportunity open to make the purchase by its customers were counteracted most times by delay in transactions confirmation often leading to more bitcoin being topped to augment the slight differences that resulted between order time and transaction confirmation. Some customers adding bitcoins for this delay had even been caught out a second time as the value changed again due to extreme volatility. A gaming platform that brags of having as much as 75 million registered accounts on its platform as at 2014, one would imagine what it would have looked like if bitcoin was still enjoying support from an industry behemoth such as Steam.
After about 3 years of allowing users of its platform the option of accepting and gifting payment in bitcoin, the payment giant pulled the plug in April of 2018. According to Stripe COO Claire Hughes Johnson, speaking at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference,
“Bitcoin and other blockchain-based payment services are slow, impractical, and over-hyped.”
She continued by stating there was not any solid use case or “killer app” for bitcoin other than ransomware used by criminals. Stripe has grown since its establishment in 2011 and is presently said to have crossed the 20 billion U.S. dollar valuation. Stripe presently serve over 1 million B2B and B2C customers with notable household names such as Slack, Docusign, Digital Ocean, Hubspot among the list of businesses Stripe presently accommodates. Stripe, however it has been seen critical of bitcoin has openly thrown its support for cryptocurrencies such as Stellar by even having up to 2% equity in the IBM backed payment coin.
As was reported, the payment processing giant PayPal announced in the third quarter of 2014 its limited support for bitcoin making it the biggest payment company to throw their weight behind the digital asset whose meteoric rise caught the attention of many. It, however, put out a caveat saying
“To be clear, today’s news does not mean that PayPal has added Bitcoin as a currency in our digital wallet or that Bitcoin payments will be processed on our secure payments platform. PayPal has always embraced innovation, but always in ways that make payments safer and more reliable for our customers. Our approach to Bitcoin is no different. That’s why we’re proceeding gradually, supporting Bitcoin in some ways today and holding off on other ways until we see how things develop.”
After PayPal like may others pulled the plug on bitcoin, PayPal’s CFO while speaking on a show hosted by “Mad Money” says “Right now, we don’t see a lot of interest from our merchants. But if it’s something that stabilizes in the future and is a better currency, then we’ll certainly support that.”
At some point, Paypal was seen clamping down on several accounts on its platform citing reasons such as trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Trying to gather more resources about this on the internet showed even more interesting patterns as these posts appear to have been brought down. See [ 1], the first post here and the reference link on the reputable bitcoin.org website also shows post has been permanently brought down . Fraught with irregularities, attempts by some groups to spark up a frenzy by sending fake emails to PayPal users warning them to stop trading cryptocurrencies using PayPal, it was however laid to rest showing this was another spoofing attempt intending to manipulate the price of bitcoin for their personal gains.
After the infamous tweet by Michael Dell the founder of the computer giant Dell, users who opted for the bitcoin payment on its platform were slammed with a stonewall from its customer support stating that option is no longer available adding them to the league of big corps that once again pulled its plug on bitcoin.
Mastercard & VISA
This is somewhat a tricky one. As bitcoin has been tipped to end the crushing hegemony of card and payment processing giants like Mastercard and VISA, one would not be surprised to see a lash out from these bigwigs on bitcoin and other digital assets to keep protecting their interests. While both VISA and Mastercard have not openly withdrawn “total” support for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and others, they have taken steps which can be said to be circumventing of the easy adoption and use of cryptocurrencies by the everyday users by reclassifying digital assets thereby imposing huge fees on those who opt to use their card whether Mastercard or VISA issued to purchase cryptocurrencies. While many believe the rise of bitcoin and future of cryptocurrencies are tied to the eventual fall of financial middlemen like VISA and Mastercard, these companies are simply not relenting in doing what they can in order to protect their interests citing authentic claims for their decision.
The latest as at (time of publication) is Twitch, a game streaming platform owned by Amazon. It is reported to have silently alienated itself and ended its support for bitcoin and bitcoin cash payment it had earlier supported. This comes after it started accepting bitcoin as far back as 2014 only to stop abruptly and then reopened that option in 2016 using Coinbase as its’ preferred payment gateway. With Twitch becoming the most recent mainstream company to drop cryptocurrency payment options in 2019, it appears the road to mass adoption is not a straight but a convoluted journey.
While this article is focused on major companies that disavowed their support for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a mainstay or option to access their product or service driven platform, I must mention here that many other credible companies have been showing their open support and giving possible green light to cryptocurrencies such as was seen with Jack Dorsey the co-founder of Twitter and founder of Square openly throwing its weight behind bitcoin and the open source community, the bloomberg report of Facebook launching its own cryptocurrency to power its ever growing 2 billion plus users, JP Morgan investment banking giant recent launch of the JPM Coin to rival XRP (Ripple coin) by Ripple technologies and so much more.
This article was originally published on hackernoon