- Stripe, the $9 billion online payments company, is putting an end to the product that enabled retailers to accept bitcoin as payment.
- It’s a major hit to the popular cryptocurrency, once believed to be the future of online payments, but Stripe isn’t the only company to back off.
- Expensive transaction fees and long wait times have made it difficult to use bitcoin for small transactions, since mining fees spiked at $37 per purchase in December.
Citing a decrease in use by both retailers and customers, Stripe said will wind down support for its bitcoin payment application and stop processing bitcoin payments entirely on April 23.
“Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense,” Stripe product manager Tom Karlo wrote in the announcement.
While the explosive growth of bitcoin — with prices shooting as high as $15,000 earlier this month, before sinking down around $11,000 at the time of writing — drove mass interest in the cryptocurrency as an asset for investment, it also brought to the surface concerns about its use for everyday payments on a large scale.
Mining fees — the cost paid to the people who provide the computing infrastructure behind each bitcoin transaction — peaked in late December, when people were required to pay $37 on top of any transaction just to make sure their payment went through in a timely manner. Transactions submitted without a high-end mining fee could take hours or days to process, at which point the value of bitcoin in USD likely had changed.