At the end of July 2021, a lot of mainstream media published news that Amazon could soon start accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on its platform. This news sent Bitcoin moonward and some began to speculate on the possibility of an Amazon token launch.
But then, in a statement to Reuters, an Amazon spokesman denied this information, stating that “notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true”.
It would seem that everything is clear, but if you dig deeper, the story itself looks a bit fishy.
So what is the story?
On July 22, Amazon posted a vacancy for “Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead”. This event was highlighted by numerous news portals, including Business Insider, Coindesk, and others. In its article, Business Insider suggested that Amazon may soon allow users to pay with cryptocurrencies.
But some went even further. City AM, its newspaper distributed for free on the London Underground, managed to find someone who said Amazon “definitely” lining up Bitcoin payments by the end of the year. This unnamed “insider” is also confident that Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Cardano will be added soon after Bitcoin as a payment method on Amazon.
According to the “insider”, Amazon even plans to launch its token. Of course, this all sounds promising but then there was the next quote — “it begins with Bitcoin – this is the key first stage of this crypto project, and the directive came from the very top… Jeff Bezos himself.”.
And here is a tiny problem. Jeff Bezos is no longer the CEO of Amazon. Yes, he’s still the executive chairman but that doesn’t give him the authority to make such major structural changes, especially since the recent appointment of a new CEO.
After Amazon denied this story, City AM published another article linking Amazon’s interest in Bitcoin with increased interest from institutional investors in the crypto market. This was followed by other pieces, where the authors were confident in the words of the “insider”. Moreover, they expected Amazon to make a rebuttal. Amazon hasn’t yet described what this vacancy means, fueling speculation.
How did this story affect the Bitcoin price?
Believing the words of an “insider” or Amazon’s position is everyone’s own business. But the crypto market reaction is the fact. On June 26, when Business Insider and City AM articles were published, the Bitcoin price jumped by more than 15%. When Amazon denied the story, the Bitcoin price dropped by more than 6%.
While other factors also affected the price movement, the Amazon story still sparked a lively discussion in the community. On June 26, the trading volume in the Bitcoin spot market doubled. But when the price started moving down after the rebuttal, the trading volume began to decline.
This is not the first time when “Amazon accepting Bitcoin”
Back in 2014, when many people were looking for how to buy crypto with a credit/debit card after the rally, Amazon payments head confirmed that the company considered Bitcoin as a new payment method on the platform. But after some research, the company stated that there was not enough demand for crypto from its audience to adopt it.
Amazon’s Bitcoin research could have been inspired by the experience of Overstock that introduced Bitcoin as a payment method in early 2014. According to Overstock CEO Patrick Brin, there was a big spike in sales on the first day of Bitcoin adoption, followed by a gradual increase in Bitcoin sales on a weekly basis.
The recent Amazon story tends to remind November 2017. The Amazon subsidiary registered three cryptocurrency-related domains, booming the same headlines as in July 2021. Amazon also did not comment on the purpose of domain registrations, prompting speculation in the media about the imminent Bitcoin implementation as a payment method. At that time, optimism prevailed in the Bitcoin market since the price broke $7,000 for the first time, so it is difficult to assess the impact of this news on the market.
Talking about potential Amazon’s token, the company already has experience in this in some sense. In 2013, Amazon introduced Amazon Coins that Kindle Fire owners could use to make purchases from the Amazon app store. Although the company called these coins “virtual currency”, they were more like Xbox Live Points.
However, there is an example where such coins have inspired companies to create cryptocurrencies and blockchain solutions. Before Kik messenger introduced its Kin cryptocurrency, the so-called Kik Points had been available for buying special themed stickers and smileys.
Amazon and Bitcoin are mentioned together not the first time but the cryptocurrency remains unavailable as a payment method on the platform. Unlike in 2014, when Amazon officials said they had no interest, they are talking openly now about “interest in the space”. Amazon is one of the largest online retailers, so adding BTC would give a boost to the crypto market and make the crypto adoption even more widespread.
But Amazon is still wary of cryptocurrencies. But even eBay, which had a similar attitude previously, recently allowed the sale of NFTs. As competitors add crypto-related solutions and as the crypto market evolves, we might soon hear the true news of Amazon accepting Bitcoin.