Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Are Bringing Us Into A New Age, Says Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz

Blockchain, News | January 29, 2018 By:

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz said the coffee company does see a future in blockchain, and will likely incorporate cryptocurrencies into its long-term payment technology strategy.

On a call with investors last week, Schultz compared the current skepticism surrounding the technology to the doubtfulness around the Internet that existed just a couple decades ago.

“I believe that we are heading into a new age in which blockchain technology is going to provide a significant level of a digital currency that is going to have a consumer application,” Schultz said. “And I believe that Starbucks is in a unique position to take advantage of that.”

However, Schultz does not believe that bitcoin will play a role in this strategy, saying the cryptocurrency was not one of the “few legitimate” cryptocurrencies which he expects to come out of the crypto craze.

“One or a few legitimate cryptocurrencies are coming, but bitcoin is not one of them,” he said. “I don’t believe that bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future.”

Schultz added that these cryptocurrencies “will have to be legitimatized by a brand in a brick-and-mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction.

“We are actively demonstrating the level of entrepreneurial curiosity and DNA of our company to do the things that we’ve done in the past to ensure the fact that we are at the cutting edge of this technology, of this consumer application,” he said. “We think we have something to offer the companies that are chasing this. Because we are in a position to create the trusted legitimate place in which this could be accepted, and possibly take advantage of the mobile payment digital platform that we have created.”

In 2015, Starbucks launched a mobile payment app that enables customers to pay and order in-app while accruing rewards. Shultz said the coffee company is considering implementing cashless stores in the US.