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Stripe, which four years ago said it would become the first major online payments platform to accept bitcoin for payments, is ditching the idea.
The company said Tuesday that the cryptocurrency had almost become a victim of its own popularity — the time needed to complete a transaction has increased, meaning that payments sometimes fail. And the rise in transaction fees helped convince Stripe that bitcoin is meant to be more of an asset and less of a currency for daily payments.
"By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in bitcoin price mean that it's for the 'wrong' amount," Stripe's Tom Karlo said. "For a regular bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of U.S. dollars is common, making bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires. "
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So the company said it doesn't make sense to keep allowing merchants to accept a payment method that no one wants to use. The last bitcoin transactions will be processed on April 23.
Stripe says it remains bullish on the crypto-economy, and CEO Patrick Collison was certainly ahead of the curve on bitcoin's rise. Collison told Recode back in 2014 that it was important for the payments platform to accept a currency that anyone around the world could access.
"Universality is the big one for me," he said. "Bitcoin is something that anyone can get ahold of."