Stripe to end bitcoin payments in April 2018
The company remains interested in the Lightning Network, Stellar and exchange platform OmiseGO.
Online payments giant Stripe has begun distancing itself from decentralized digital currency bitcoin, which it has supported since mid-2014, citing lengthy transaction times, rising fees and dwindling customer appetite.
Stripe will wind down support for bitcoin payments over the next three months, working closely with affected Stripe users before completely ceasing to process any and all bitcoin transactions on April 23, 2018.
“Over the past year or two, as block size limits have been reached, bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange,” Stripe product manager Tom Karlo said in a new blog post.
Karlo said this has led to bitcoin becoming “less useful for payments”, incurring significantly high fees, rising transaction confirmation times and increasing failure rates for transactions denominated in fiat currencies. Additionally, Karlo pointed out that bitcoin transaction fees are now “about as expensive as bank wires”.
Given the frequent fluctuations in bitcoin’s price, Karlo said people often up paying the “wrong” amount.
“Despite this, we remain very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall,” Karlo said.
“We’re interested in what’s happening with Lightning and other proposals to enable faster payments. OmiseGO is an ambitious and clever proposal; more broadly, Ethereum continues to spawn high-potential projects.
“We may add support for Stellar (to which we provided seed funding) if substantive use continues to grow.”
In his blog post, Karlo suggested that bitcoin may again become a viable payments platform in the future.
Stripe was founded in September 2011 and its headquarters are based in San Francisco, California. Stripe operates in more than 25 countries, allowing both private individuals and businesses to accept payments over the internet. The company oversees technical processes, fraud prevention and banking infrastructure.
The Lightning Network, which offers a potential solution to bitcoin’s scalability issues, reportedly just completed its first ever, real-world transaction, according to a recent post on online discussion forum Reddit.
Cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer has been issued a Payment Institution (PI) license to operate in the European Union. The exchange is the only approved platform allowing trade with bitcoin’s largest trading market, Japan.