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Uber Won’t Invest In Bitcoin But Might Take It For Payments

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company would consider accepting bitcoin as a payment method if people asked, but investing in the cryptocurrency is not part of its strategy, CNBC reported on Thursday (Feb. 11).

Khosrowshahi told CNBC that Uber had it on the table for discussion but “quickly dismissed” the idea of following Tesla’s move of buying bitcoin with corporate cash. Accepting crypto for payments, however, is something that could happen.

“It’s a conversation that’s happened that has been quickly dismissed. We’re going to keep our cash safe. We’re not in the speculation business,” Khosrowshahi told CNBC. “The upside in our company is in the business that we’ve built, not the investments that we invest in.”

Uber reported it had $5.65 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31, CNBC reported, along with $1.18 billion in short-term investments.

“Just like we accept all kinds of local currency, we are going to look at cryptocurrency and/or bitcoin in terms of currency to transact,” he said. “That’s good for business. That’s good for our riders and our eaters. That we’ll certainly look at and if there’s a benefit there, if there’s a need there, we’ll do it. We’re just not going to do it as part of a promotion.”

PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston also told CNBC on Thursday that the company “had the conversation” about buying bitcoin. “The conclusion we came to pretty quickly was bitcoin is too speculative for the way we manage our cash portfolio,” Johnston said.

The comments by Uber and PepsiCo followed Tesla’s move to buy $1.5 billion in bitcoin with corporate cash. Tesla also said it would soon accept cryptocurrency as a payment method. That started Wall Street musing whether Tesla’s move could be a catalyst for widespread interest in crypto.

Mastercard on Wednesday (Feb. 10) said it was planning to open its platform to cryptocurrencies. The company already allows customers to complete some transactions with cryptocurrencies outside Mastercard’s formal network.

BNY Mellon announced on Thursday that it was launching a digital assets division later this year. The country’s oldest bank is the first global financial institution to announce plans to integrate coin currencies. 

PayPal announced in November that it was expanding its platform to cryptocurrency payments. Daniel Gouldman, CEO of crypto-banking platform Ternio, told PYMNTS that PayPal’s acceptance is a major milestone in crypto’s aim for mainstream acceptance.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: BUY NOW, PAY LATER CONSUMER STUDY 

About: Buy Now, Pay Later: Millennials And The Shifting Dynamics Of Online Credit, a PYMNTS and PayPal collaboration, examines the demand for new flexible credit options as well as how consumers, especially those in the millennial demographic, are paying online. The study is based on two surveys, totaling nearly 15,000 U.S. consumers.

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