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Starbucks will accept Bitcoin from next year

Global coffee chain Starbucks is now on track to accept payments in the world’s best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

The firm is partnering with Wall Street-listed Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) which will begin testing its consumer app Bakkt in Starbucks stores in the first half of next year in as many as 30,000 Starbucks outlets globally.

Starbucks hinted it might embrace cryptocurrencies early last year when founder and former president Howard Schultz told an earnings call that he believed “one or a few” legitimate cryptocurrencies would emerge in the future.  

But at the time he said: “I don’t believe that bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future.” 

Starbucks will serve as Bakkt’s first merchant client after more than a year of reportedly slow setup due to delays in its futures exchange launch. The coffee chain began researching the Bakkt app with ICE in August last year.

Mike Blandina, chief product officer with Bakkt said in a blog post that the companies had set up a strong team of payments engineers and is now nearing completion of the core payments and compliance platform. 

“We’re now focused on the development of the consumer app and merchant portal, as well as testing with our first launch partner, Starbucks, which we expect in the first half of next year.”

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