Are crypto payments about to go mainstream in your high street? That’s what we wonder today as we hear an earnings call by Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz.
We quote at some length so that you can make up your own mind regarding what Starbucks might be planing in this space. Although we will say one thing.
It does seem the Chairman is inviting offers and suggestions for collaboration from participants in this space, which might perhaps be the primary reason for his decision to make the following remarks, according to a transcript by SeekingAlpha:
“I’d like to just pose a question to all of you. And the question is, we all can probably remember 20 years ago or so, when someone tapped us on the shoulder and asked us anything about this thing called the Internet? And we probably all can remember that moment.
Well, 20 years later or so, the world has been completely transformed… Well, I think I have another question for you. 20 or so years later, and the question is, the issue of do you understand and are you anticipating what could happen with cryptocurrencies?
And the reason I mention this is not because I’m talking about Bitcoin, because I don’t believe that Bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future. I’m talking about the new technology of blockchain and the possibility of what could happen not in the near-term, but in a few years from now with a consumer application in which is trust and legitimacy with regard to a digital currency.
Now, I’m not bringing this up because Starbucks is announcing that we are forming a digital currency or we’re investing in this. I’m bringing this up, because as we think about the future of our company and the future of consumer behavior, I personally believe that there is going to be a one or a few legitimate trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology.
And that legitimacy and trust in terms of its consumer application will have to be legitimatized by a brand and a brick and mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction.
And then you have to ask yourself, well, if that’s the case, if you believe that that proposition is possible, how many companies or what company has the national or global footprint as well as the digital mobile payment trust and confidence integrated into its existing business.
And if you take it a step further, and you believe this is coming, given the fact that there are hundreds of millions of dollars domestically and globally being invested in this technology, in which there is an arms race as to who is going to win.
There’s going to be lot of winners, a lot of losers. But we are in a very unique position to take advantage of what other tech companies and the blockchain technology will provide in terms of the rails to potentially be in the mix of this and benefit financially, benefit in terms of consumer behavior and incrementality and significantly create long-term shareholder value…
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. And I believe that Starbucks is in a unique position to take advantage of that…
And 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.”
There you have it, Starbucks might be coming. Perhaps a bit too early because the technology still needs at least another year to handle high street level demand – although it might be ready for trials – but by the time Starbucks has it all figured out and is ready to integrate it in their shops it might be just about good to go.
That’s if their competitors don’t jump the gun and rush to implement it first now that the Chairman has just by his remarks added legitimacy. For if Starbucks thinks that’s where the world is going, why would other retailers think otherwise? A question to which we have no answer as we have to wait and see.