Saturday, 19 September 2020

AT&T are accepting Bitcoin Payments

And what it means in the evolution of Bitcoin and the token economy

Bitcoin is still a source of controversy, but at least it’s becoming more mainstream with Wall Street investors getting interested and the Lightning Network maturing.

Recently in the constant onslaught of Crypto News, some of which borders on being misinformed, there was this AT&T story.

AT&T Accepting Payments via BitPay

According to CoinTelegraph and other sources, indeed the United States telecom and media giant AT&T is now accepting cryptocurrency for paying phone bills online, according to an official press release on May 23. AT&T will process bills paid in cryptocurrency using crypto payments platform BitPay.

Bitcoin is now trading at $8,645 as of May 30th, which basically means Bitcoin is having one of its best months since 2013.

The idea of Bitcoin as a digital currency and not just a digital asset appears to be coming closer to fruition. The saga of Bitcoin mirrors many movements but is primarily a story about decentralization.

The fact remains there are Billionaires who can afford to buy huge amounts of Bitcoin in case it does continue to go higher. Most people don’t and may never own Bitcoin. Still the prospect of digital assets turning into digital currencies is alluring and how stablecoins in business or banking might take off using blockchain technology.

According to this story, BitPay is a platform that converts cryptocurrencies to fiat and is used by over 20,000 businesses. AT&T is reportedly the first United States based business in the wireless network industry to offer bill payments with BitPay.

Bitcoin is Back as Crypto-Related Products Mature

Crypto-related products and partnerships like Facebook, J.P Morgan, Bakkt and Fidelity give Bitcoin a lot of momentum as well as more demand in Asia, where China is coming down hard on the crypto community (ICOs on WeChat for example), Bitcoin mining and so forth.

Immediately following the AT&T news, Bitcoin’s price experienced a jump from $7,600 to over $8,000 the next day. All of these little stories add up to a narrative that says Bitcoin is back.

Lighting Network as the Holy Grail of Bitcoin Mass Adoption

The Lighting Network has huge potential for how Bitcoin is monetized, integrated and becomes part of an emerging token-based economy. Even Microsoft is watching this trend. Ethereum might not be the future after all, since Bitcoin still has enormous hype, credibility and demand.

In 2019 it’s looking more like the Lightning Network could manifest the holy grail of Bitcoin transaction adoption, though even that remains to be seen.

Crypto as being Customer Centric

Kevin McDorman, vice president of AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations, said, “We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”

Customers will be able to use the AT&T online platform upon logging into their accounts, then select Bitpay as a payment option.

There is a history in this though. Near the end of 2018, AT&T announced (CoinTelegraph) that it was working on a suite of blockchain solutions compatible with Microsoft Azure and the IBM Blockchain Platform. As the cloud matures, so will blockchain and even crypto payments interoperability. That much now seems inevitable.

Bitcoin Inverse Correlation with Stock Market?

Bitcoin also appears to do well when the stock market is bearing itself, meaning during the next recession crypto is definitely a digital asset class to watch.

AT&T also filed a patent application — which was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in December — for a blockchain-based “social media history map” that would allow a network such as AT&T to gather its subscribers’ social media “transaction” data. This means that the surveillance state of the future that will verge towards social credit systems will also have crypto transactions integrated into them.

Not Just for Criminals

Considering how Taboo Bitcoin was just a few years ago, that AT&T will process bills paid in cryptocurrency using crypto payments platform BitPay is kind of incredible.

By Michaiel K Spencer
Legal disclaimer: The insight, recommendations and analysis presented here are based on corporate filings, current events, interviews, corporate press releases, and what we've learned as financial journalists. They are presented for the purposes of general information only, and all the information belongs to the original publishers. These may contain errors and we make no promises as to the accuracy or usefulness of the information we present. You should not make any investment decision based solely on what you read here.

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