Silicon Valley's quest for a digital currency continues after Stripe abandons bitcoin

Stripe is going to stop accepting bitcoin, may start accepting Stellar

Stripe bails on bitcoin as the currency's drawbacks pile up

Stripe, the Ireland-based payment platform, seems to be backtracking on its previously enthusiastic stance on cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment.

Over the course of 2017, its price surged from under $1,000 to more than $19,000 at one point.

When it made a decision to accept bitcoin for payments four years ago, Stripe said that it was the first major online payments platform to accept bitcoin.

And the company, which helps more than 100,000 businesses with online financial transactions, said few online merchants want to accept cryptocurrency as a payment.

So far bitcoin is turning out to be more like digital gold than a currency for small or frequent payments. "By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in Bitcoin price mean that it's for the "wrong" amount". The extreme price volatility and hefty transaction fees make dealing in Bitcoin a high-wire tightrope act without a net.

Stripe said that these factors have decreased demand for a bitcoin payment option among its customers.

We have seen a considerable increase in the value of Bitcoin over the a year ago, this has lead to high transaction charges. That has though, also come with large swings, and Stripe said that had impacted transaction times. Microsoft also rattled the markets when it briefly stopped taking bitcoin payments. But according to Stripe, it's just not important as a currency. The company will stop working with bitcoin from April 23.

Stripe's Tom Karlo said in a statement that the delay between blocks has seen payments sometime fail, while fees can now be as much as global bank transfers.

Despite the fact that Stripe is dropping support for bitcoin, the company is still extremely bullish on cryptocurrencies in general.

"Because retailers have very narrow margins and when you have a bitcoin bouncing up and down by 15 percent over a couple weeks' period, that can be the difference between profits and losing money on every sale", Schulman was quoted as saying. Stripe was the first major processor to accept bitcoin back in 2014.

Bitcoin has been suffering a lot lately because of scaling issues and high transaction times and fees. And in October, Vietnam banned cryptocurrency payments, with the State Bank of Vietnam declaring that Bitcoin was not a legal payment method from the start of this year. Despite discontinuing support for bitcoin, the company sees promise in proposals to speed up bitcoin transactions, such as the Bitcoin Lightning Network and OmiseGo for ethereum. We may add support for Stellar if substantive use continues to grow.

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