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Stripe gave up on bitcoin, but co-founder John Collison is excited about the future of crypto

“The future of crypto — especially as it applies to the means of exchange — that future is undetermined.”

Stripe co-founder and president John Collison onstage at Code Commerce 2018
Stripe co-founder and president John Collison
Keith MacDonald for Vox Media

Stripe may have given up on bitcoin as a payments method — at least temporarily — but it’s not giving up on cryptocurrencies more broadly.

Stripe president and co-founder John Collison says that despite Stripe’s decision to stop processing bitcoin payments, he sees a lot of potential for cryptocurrencies to succeed as a payments method, especially outside of the United States where payments infrastructures aren’t well established.

“We’re very excited by [the] longterm potential for the payments use cases of crypto,” he said Monday from onstage at Recode’s Code Commerce conference in New York. “Especially not in the United States or kind of near-term companies that have pretty well-functioning payments systems. But as you go to a lot of far-flung countries, if we wanna offer easy APIs to pay out to long-tail countries, we think there could be a bunch of interesting ideas there.”

Stripe wasn’t shy about its frustrations with bitcoin, which had a dramatic rise and fall in price late last year. Collison echoed those frustrations Monday, saying that processing bitcoin payments was time-consuming and the dramatic price fluctuations made it difficult on retailers. “The price would have moved while the transaction was happening,” he explained.

Despite the issues with bitcoin, Collison says Stripe is open to processing other types of cryptocurrency payments down the line. “That is not indicative of what would happen with all cryptocurrencies, that was just bitcoin support in particular,” he said.

Stripe has also made a separate public display of support for the crypto industry: It provided seed funding for a cryptocurrency network called Stellar, which trades a digital currency called lumens.

“The future of crypto — especially as it applies to the means of exchange — that future is undetermined,” Collison said.

Watch the full interview here:

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