Stripe, the platform that helps over 100,000 business accept online payments, has announced it will stop supporting bitcoin in April. The firm is placing the blame on rising transaction times and increased failure rates, along with fees that are about as expensive as bank wires.
Stripe’s product manager, Tom Karlo, wrote that bitcoin has evolved into an asset rather than a currency and that fewer customers have a desire to use it, mostly because of the rise in transaction fees.
"For a regular Bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of U.S. dollars is common, making Bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires," explained Karlo.
The news could see bitcoin’s price take yet another hit. A series of incidents, including new regulations introduced by South Korea, have seen its price slump recently. On January 6 it stood at $17,135; at the time of writing it is $10,775.
Stripe, which counts Lyft, Facebook, and Target among its customers, became the first major payments platform to support bitcoin back in 2014. It hoped that accepting the cryptocurrency would allow people in places with low credit card penetration or prohibitively high card fees to perform online transactions.
But the high demand for bitcoin in recent times has seen its price fluctuate, resulting in payments taking longer. "By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in Bitcoin price mean that it's for the 'wrong' amount," said Karlo.
Stripe will start winding down support for bitcoin payments immediately, with all transactions coming to a halt on April 23.
The decision will likely upset bitcoin fans, but Stripe isn't shutting the door on all cryptocurrencies. Karlo writes that the company is still optimistic about Lightning, OmiseGO, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Stripe may even add support for Stellar, in which it has a stake.