Saturday, 23 March 2019

A trusted digital currency is coming, but it’s not bitcoin, says Starbucks’ Howard Schultz

'There is going to be one or a few legitimate, trusted digital currencies,’ says the coffee chain’s executive chairman
The dollar has been getting left out in the cold by traders lately.

Who needs all those Benjamins anyway?

Soon you might not need dollars to pay for your morning coffee, according to Starbucks’ SBUX, +1.61% Howard Schultz.

“I don’t believe that bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.46% is going to be a currency today or in the future,” the coffee chain’s executive chairman and former CEO said on Jan. 25 during an earnings conference call (as the company’s sales slightly missed forecasts).

But don’t scrawl “Luddite” on his paper cup.

“I personally believe that there is going to be one or a few legitimate, trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology,” Schultz said, according to FactSet’s transcript and recording for the conference call.

And these cryptocurrencies “will have to be legitimatized by a brand in a brick-and-mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction,” he added. That sounds like a pretty big hint Starbucks might test out or even accept a virtual currency in the future. His remarks served as a call of the day for our Need to Know column.

The Seattle company isn’t announcing that it’s launching a new cryptocurrency, and it’s still working on understanding the crypto world as it looks to get involved, Schultz hastened to add.

“I don’t want anyone to hang up on this call and assume that we have this all figured out, because we don’t, or that we’re making a significant investment in this, because we’re not,” he said. But “we have something to offer the companies that are chasing this.”

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