Howard Schultz, the executive chairman of global coffee giant Starbucks, appears bullish on blockchain. A recent investor call and interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo revealed that the company is likely to embrace the technology as a foundational piece for a future payment app.
The company has long been at the forefront of digital payment solutions – according to Schultz, their emphasis on developing cashless payment methods is inherent to Starbucks’ “entrepreneurial DNA.” Schultz elaborated, “…[we’ve] constantly [had] the curiosity to see around corners and make big bets. And I think there’s probably no better example of that than over the last five, six years what we’ve been able to do around digital mobile payment.” Mobile payment now represents one-third of Starbucks’ total sales tender, a number attributable to their early adoption of the technology.
Schultz told Bartiromo that a “proprietary digital currency” would be a likely future addition to their payments app, describing blockchain as the “rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of.” Schultz’s comments heralding a blockchain-led “new age” appear to exclude bitcoin – he stated his belief that a different digital currency will likely emerge as preeminent.
Schultz was quick to point out that Starbucks was neither creating their own, nor investing in a digital currency; he clarified that he believes the company has a special chance to legitimize and take advantage of blockchain and cryptocurrency with consumers on a mass scale. “You have to ask yourself…what company has the national or global footprint, as well as the digital mobile payment trust and confidence integrated into its existing business?” said Schultz on a recent call with investors. “There’s going to be lot of winners, a lot of losers [in the race to utilize blockchain]. But we are in a very unique position [because of our existing infrastructure] to take advantage of what other tech companies and the Blockchain technology will provide…[and] potentially be in the mix [to benefit] financially, benefit in terms of consumer behavior and incrementality and significantly create long-term shareholder value.”
Just how that long-term value will be achieved remains up in the air, as Schultz did not hash out the nuts and bolts for putting blockchain into practice. But a company the size of Starbucks embracing blockchain and digital currency for consumer application resonates for symbolic reasons; they are “…in a position to create the trusted legitimate place in which this could be accepted and possibly take advantage of the mobile payment digital platform that we have created.” The potential for a transformative ripple effect across industries is massive, as businesses of similar clout and size realize blockchain’s value.
Blockchain could very well revolutionize business as we know it. Investors would be wise to brush-up on your knowledge of blockchain and its potential uses, as this education is likely to make navigating cryptocurrency markets less difficult in the future. Get started today by exploring educational articles in Tickeron’s Academy, on tickeron.com.