Siding with those who feel Bitcoin is a hype, the executive chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schultz has said that while “one or a few legitimate” cryptocurrencies are sure to establish themselves, bitcoin will not be one of them.
Echoing that stance, Kevin Johnson, the Starbucks CEO, added that the company had no vested interests in the blockchain. Schultz does see the potential of blockchain technology though, hinting at his openness to investigating its application within the Starbucks stable.
Doom for Bitcoin
Insistent that bitcoin is a bubble and won’t be among those left standing over the longer term, Schultz said, “I don’t believe that Bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future,” while on a conference call after the last Wall Street bell, post-earnings on January 25, 2018.
While it might be hard to credit the advice of a coffee maker on issues like cryptocurrency, Schultz’s love affair with the blockchain as a grand platform offsets this somewhat.
Emphasizing his enchantment with the blockchain, the technology platform that enables cryptocurrency, he said:
“I’m talking about … the possibility of what could happen — not in the near term, but in a few years from now — with a consumer application in which there’s trust and legitimacy with regard to a digital currency.”
“I’m not bringing this up because Starbucks is announcing that we are forming a digital currency or we’re investing in this,” Schultz continued, “I’m bringing this up … as we think about the future of our company and the future of consumer behavior.” The audio of the conference call is available on the Starbucks website.
Stances soften and harden as the craze gets off to a slow start in 2018
Bitcoin has recently been traded less hysterically and more evenly overall, yet the market is somewhat less enthusiastic as 2018 commences. With persistent pricing lately of around $11,000, and “persistent” is a relative term for an asset that can lose or gain huge chunks overnight as it has previously, the commodity is far from respectable. It is, however, advancing with an established presence nonetheless.
Over the course of its existence, bitcoin has many detractors. Some have been steadfast while others have completely capitulated. The largest shift has probably been in the mid-arena, where former critics are now tentatively softening on bitcoin as the cryptocurrency’s popularity and perceived value shows no sign of disappearing in the near future. Possibly the most famous private investor of all time, Warren Buffet, has been consistent with his claim that bitcoin was a bad bubble waiting to pop.
Schultz’s comments need to be seen in the light of other comments he recently made to CNBC. When talking about what lay ahead, he confirmed at the time that Starbucks could very well be cashless at some point in the future.
Schultz’s opinion is qualified, in spite of being a somewhat unorthodox cryptocurrency commentator. Joining Starbucks in 1982 and appointed as operational director, he subsequently occupied the CEO position twice, handing over to Johnson in April 2017.
Affirming Schultz’s overall stance, Johnson repeated that Starbucks had no pertinently large interest in blockchain technology at the moment, at least not one they were throwing money at.
But on CNBC‘s Squawk on the Street on January 26, 2018, he also said that the household name deli is, in fact, piloting a cashless outlet in Seattle. “Payment and payment platforms are continuing to evolve,” he said, adding that Starbucks would want to be ahead of the pack in that race.
Davos still holding onto the old order, but change is hard to resist
Davos, where world economic leaders have gathered in Switzerland these past few days, has seen some vociferous rejection of bitcoin and cryptocurrency as a whole from that fraternity.
One of the most famous detractors has been JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon. Stating some time back that cryptocurrency could never hope to compete against the US dollar, Dimon more recently acknowledged that the basic blockchain platform has merit and could bring enhanced efficiency to transacting overall. He also recently softened his stance on bitcoin for reasons unknown, saying that he regretted calling bitcoin a “fraud” in September 2017.