Stripe says it’s open to accepting crypto for payments, three years after ending bitcoin support
John Collison, President and co-founder of Stripe, attends the 2018 Viva Tech conference in Paris.
Christophe Morin | IP3 | Getty Images
Stripe isn’t ruling out accepting cryptocurrency as a method of payment in the future, according to co-founder John Collison.
The online payments company ended support for bitcoin payments in 2018, citing the digital coin’s notoriety for volatile price swings and a lack of efficiency in making everyday transactions.
“Crypto obviously means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” Collison said at a CNBC-moderated panel at the Fintech Abu Dhabi festival on Tuesday.
Collison said there were some aspects to crypto — such as its use as a speculative investment — that are “not that relevant to what we do at Stripe.”
But, he added: “There have been a lot of developments of late with an eye to making cryptocurrencies better and, in particular, scalable and acceptable cost as a payment method.”
Asked whether Stripe would start accepting crypto as a method of payment again, Collison said: “We don’t yet, but I think it’s not implausible that we would.”
The company recently formed a team dedicated to exploring crypto and “Web3,” a buzzword in tech that refers to a new, decentralized version of the internet.
The effort is being led by Guillaume Poncin, Stripe’s head of engineering. Earlier this month, the company appointed Matt Huang, co-founder of crypto-focused venture capital firm Paradigm, to its board of directors.
Collison said there are a number of innovations emerging in digital assets that have potential, including solana — a competitor to ethereum, the world’s second-biggest digital currency — to “Layer 2” systems like bitcoin’s Lightning Network, which aim to speed up transactions and process them at a lower cost.
Founded in 2009, Stripe has quickly become the largest privately-held fintech company in the U.S. The company was last valued at $95 billion and counts the likes of Baillie Gifford, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz as investors.