Payment processor Stripe is pulling support for bitcoin payments, saying that crazy price fluctuations and higher fees render the cryptocurrency unusable as a form of payment.
Stripe first switched on support for bitcoin in 2014, seeing its potential as a means for payment in online transactions were credit card fees were prohibitive.
In a statement explaining its decision to pull the cryptocurrency from its code, Stripe product manager Tom Karlo says: "Over the past year or two, as block size limits have been reached, bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange. This has led to bitcoin becoming less useful for payments."
He cites slow transaction confirmation times in a volatile market and a hike in fees alongside declining interest from merchants as the primary reasons for the reversal.
"For a regular bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of US dollars is common, making bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires," he says. "Because of this, we’ve seen the desire from our customers to accept bitcoin decrease. And of the businesses that are accepting bitcoin on Stripe, we’ve seen their revenues from Bitcoin decline substantially. Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with bitcoin makes sense."
Karlo says the company will continue to monitor the cryptocurrency market, and the prospects for Bitcoin Cash, litecoin, ethereum or another variant - such as stellar lumens in which the company has a stake - to emerge as an acceptable consumer payment standard.