Stripe Getting Back Into Crypto After Missing Bitcoin Bounce

Stripe, a payments processor that makes it easy for companies from Amazon to Instacart to get paid, is hiring four engineers to form the foundation of a new crypto team.

According to the job postings, the staff engineers “will design and build the core components that we need to support crypto use cases.”

The job posts, first reported by CoinDesk, also mention the company’s early adoption of cryptocurrency, when, way back in 2014 it became “the first major payments company to launch Bitcoin acceptance.”

But Stripe didn’t stick around long enough to see BTC go all the way from around $500 that year to over $50,000 today. In early 2018, it decided to ditch the service. Tom Karlo, former product manager of the Global Payment Methods team, wrote at the time that Bitcoin’s success as an asset class paradoxically made it “less useful for payments.” He noted increased transaction confirmation times and pointed to high transaction fees, at least relative to fiat, or, say, Bitcoin Cash (which promised to make crypto work as a means of exchange).

While those issues have yet to be sorted out—average transaction fees climbed above $20 at points this spring just as they did when Karlo wrote that January 2018 post—the thirst for Bitcoin payment solutions is growing. And other companies have taken advantage.

Whereas Stripe has geared its services exclusively to online businesses, competitor Square has moved beyond just services for retail businesses looking to allow their customers to pay with more than just cash. Square, the financial platform helmed by Bitcoin devotee Jack Dorsey, holds millions in BTC in its treasury and has pushed its offerings to allow people to buy crypto on its Cash App. It recently revealed it’s building a Bitcoin division called TBD and working on a decentralized crypto exchange.

The engineers Stripe hires are expected to contribute to the company’s crypto strategy and develop short-term and long-term roadmaps for getting there. “We hear a growing need from developers and users in that space for better building blocks to accept payments, move funds, exchange between fiat and crypto, etc,” it wrote. According to the job posts, the hires will work on multiple aspects, including user interfaces for both web and mobile, as well as “backend, payments and identity systems.”

What the posts don’t say is which cryptocurrencies Stripe might integrate—or even whether Bitcoin will be one of them.

12 October 2021 19:58

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