During Starbucks’ January earnings call, executive chairman Howard Schultz warned that bitcoin would not be the currency of the future, instead suggesting that some other trusted, legitimate digital currency off of the blockchain technology could take its place.
Those cryptocurrencies, Schultz said at the time, would have to be legitimized by a brick-and-mortar establishment, “where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction.”
Schultz’s comments immediately set off speculation that Starbucks is heading toward accepting a virtual currency as payment in the future, which he continued to hint at during an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday.
“I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of,” the former CEO of the coffee giant said.
That said, Schultz hedged that the company has “always taken the long term” and will make decisions that are not based on this quarter or next quarter’s performance. Starbucks shares were recently trading at $57.17, down from its 2017 high of $64.87.
“The real question in any brick-and-mortar retailer these days is how do you become as relevant outside of your stores as you have inside?” he said. “If you look at what we’ve accomplished to date and what we’re now talking about, the future of Starbucks domestically and around the world is our best days are in front of us.”