Tongues are wagging that Bitcoin for Amazon transactions could be a reality by the end of the year and launch their own cryptocurrency in 2022 according to various reports, with CityAM stating that an insider has confirmed the news.
This has all stemmed from a job posting for a Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead to to develop Amazon’s Digital Currency and Blockchain strategy and product roadmap. There’s no mention of Bitcoin in the job posting, but if Amazon were to adopt any digital currency Bitcoin for Amazon would seem a logical option.
The question is, where would it fit into Amazon’s ecosystem? Amazon are interested in the prospective job applicant developing the customer experience, technical strategy and capabilities as well as the launch strategy.
There are three reasons I see that are holding back widespread adoption of Bitcoin, or indeed any cryptocurrency.
- It’s great for criminals and people with something to hide. Why leave a cash trail when you can hide behind a block chain? It’s not a great rep.
- It’s environmentally unfriendly – just ask Elon Musk who stopped accepting it for Tesla, although he might start again. The problem with Bitcoin is that unless you steal electricity, it takes exponentially ever more vast amounts of power to mine and run the blockchain and that’s not good for the planet.
- Outside of the tech world, no one I know has ever used Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. I tend to rely on my circle of non-ecommerce friends as a bellwether and until they see a need for Bitcoin I’m afraid it’s stuck in the tech world…. unless (see point #1) you’re a crook.
So bearing in mind Amazon aren’t in the business of servicing the needs of crooks, wanting to host a website on AWS without a trail leading back to their front door, what could they be thinking of using cryptocurrency for?
Well there are advantages, it’s easy to pay with crypto assuming you already have a Bitcoin or other account and your name isn’t Stefan Thomas. There are problems trying to pay in different currencies, especially for many of the world’s unbanked and even for the banked intercurrency payments are still relatively expensive.
Don’t expect Amazon’s consumer customers jumping up and down for joy at the thought of Bitcoin for Amazon transactions. They honestly don’t care. But you might if you want to sell on Amazon India, Japan, Mexico and any number of remote countries (with currencies you don’t even know the name of) where Amazon might open a country site in the future. It might be useful to grease the wheels of ecommerce, but consumers? Meh, I predict not in this decade.