Stripe is a payment processing service that allows businesses and individuals to accept payments both online and through mobile apps. The service processes billions of dollars in transactions every year, and helps more than 100,000 businesses make exchanges.

Now, in a recent blog post, Stripe announced that they are discounting their support for Bitcoin.

The news is especially surprising due to Stripe holding the title of being one of the first major payment companies to formally support Bitcoin. The platform adopted Bitcoin on July 21st, 2014, citing the currency’s potential to blossom into an easy-to-use payment system for the public.

With the announcement that Stripe is ending their Bitcoin support, the team explained that their hopes of the currency removing payment barriers were not met.

“Our hope was that Bitcoin could become a universal, decentralized substrate for online transactions and help our customers enable buyers in places that had less credit card penetration or use cases where credit card fees were prohibitive,” said the statement.

This announcement came before Weiss Ratings’ digital currency ratings, giving Bitcoin a C+.

Bitcoin suffers from its popularity

The digital currency community echoed many of the criticisms presented by the Stripe team. In particular, Stripe outlined issues with the growing trend of Bitcoin being used as an asset, rather than a ‘means of exchange.’

Largely, this is due to current issues that plague Bitcoin. As a result of the currency’s popularity, transaction fees and processing times skyrocketed, and many emphasize the need for solutions to help the currency scale.

“Because of this, we’ve seen the desire from our customers to accept Bitcoin decrease. And of the businesses that are accepting Bitcoin on Stripe, we’ve seen their revenues from Bitcoin decline substantially,” Stripe added. “Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense.”

Stripe is not the first organization to backtrack on previous support for Bitcoin. On December 6th, 2017, Steam, the highly popular gaming platform, announced that they are no longer allowing payments through the currency due to ‘high fees and volatility.’

Exploring alternatives

It is unclear if this is the beginning of a trend of companies retracting their previous support for Bitcoin due to the currency’s issues. However, currencies like Litecoin, alongside many others, are made popular by their claims to circumvent the high transaction fees that Bitcoin currently faces.

While Stripe is stepping away from Bitcoin, they promise to pay attention to new opportunities in the future. Stripe also says it will explore other potential digital currencies. In their post, they express interest in exploring avenues of support towards Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Stellar.

Stripe will stop processing Bitcoin transactions on April 23, 2018. The extended timeline is to provide their users time to transition away from the digital currency.  

 

Image credit: Stripe

 

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