Technology

Amazon denies report claiming imminent acceptance of Bitcoin payments

Amazon has denied a report that claimed it plans to start accepting Bitcoin as payment before the end of the year. “Notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true,” a spokesperson for the company told Reuters, “We remain focused on exploring what this could look like for customers shopping on Amazon.”

The denial came after London-based financial paper City AM reported on a specific series of plans sourced from a company insider. According to City AM, Amazon is ready to accept Bitcoin as payment this year, followed by other popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, and even Amazon’s own “native token.” Instructions for the cryptocurrency initiative were said to be coming from Jeff Bezos himself, although Bezos recently stepped down from the position of Amazon CEO to the company’s executive chair. Although Amazon’s statement doesn’t specifically mention this report, it tallies with speculation around “specific plans” that Amazon says aren’t true.

The wave of speculation was prompted by a job listing from the company last week for a “Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead.” The listing said that Amazon is looking for someone to explore how the company could make use of cryptocurrency technology as part of its business. “We’re inspired by the innovation happening in the cryptocurrency space and are exploring what this could look like on Amazon,” a spokesperson said at the time. So the company has a general interest in the area, but no specific plans.

The reports have caused wild swings in the price of Bitcoin over the past week. Reuters notes that the price of the currency shot up by as much as 14.5 percent after City AM’s report on Monday. Over the past day, however, its price has fallen from a high of over $40,000 to under $37,000, according to data from CoinDesk. Last week, prior to the reports, the cryptocurrency was trading in the range of $29,000 and $32,000.

Although Amazon accepting Bitcoin would be significant, it wouldn’t be the first major company to do so. Earlier this year, Tesla started accepting Bitcoin as payments for its cars in the US, but stopped less than two months later citing environmental concerns associated with the cryptocurrency. These concerns are likely to be shared by Amazon, which announced a $2 billion climate fund last year.