The latest regarding Bitcoin’s effort to integrate with retail stores comes from the head of payments at Amazon, Tom Taylor, who recently told Re/code that the largest Internet retailer will not be introducing Bitcoin into its payment system anytime soon.
While the company did consider the digital currency, they eventually decided that there simply was not enough interest from their customer base for Amazon to benefit from its utilization.
“Obviously it gets a lot of press and we have considered it,” said Taylor, “but we’re not hearing from customers that it’s right for them and don’t have any plans within Amazon to engage Bitcoin.”
Taylor acknowledged that there are indeed advantages to a “global” currency, but said the company will focus its attention towards more urgent needs, such as dealing with foreign exchange rates and other problems affecting sellers.
At least two threads appeared on Reddit’s Bitcoin subreddit today urging supporters to message Amazon and request reconsideration of its decision. It’s worth noting that bitcoiners can still purchase items on Amazon with bitcoins by first purchasing an Amazon gift card through the online gift card marketplace, Gyft.com.
As demonstrated by the Bitcoin integration at Overstock and TigerDirect, Amazon has seemingly little to lose by incorporating it into its payment system. Both Overstock and TigerDirect began accepting bitcoins earlier in the year, and within two months each reported more than $1 million in sales generated from Bitcoin.
“Amazon isn’t alone in this stance among big e-commerce sites. EBay, Walmart.com, Target.com and other big names have shown no signs of moving toward acceptance,” said Jason Del Ray of Re/code. “Probably the most well-known online seller to accept the digital currency is Overstock.com, which sells furniture online and has a comparatively modest market cap of $413 million.”
Industry sources believe Amazon may be planning to set up a payment network designed to compete with credit card companies such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard, which could also explain why they are hesitant to adopt Bitcoin at this time.
In other retailer news, bitcoiners will no longer be able to purchase Walmart gift cards through Gyft using bitcoins. What went into effect three weeks ago and essentially allowed bitcoins to be spent at Walmart, including on gas and groceries, came to an end after Gyft customers received a disappointing email explaining the decision.
The email from Gyft explained to its customers that they are no longer able to stock Walmart gift cards “due to reasons outside of Gyft’s control.” It seems unlikely that Gyft would arbitrarily remove one of the most popular items from their store, leading members of the Bitcoin community to speculate that the removal is due to forces within the Walmart camp.
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