Galaxy Z Flip 4 Preorder Quest 2: Still the Best Student Internet Discounts Best 55-Inch TV Galaxy Z Fold 4 Preorder Nintendo Switch OLED Review Foldable iPhone? 41% Off 43-Inch Amazon Fire TV
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

No, Starbucks won't be accepting Bitcoin

Yes, Starbucks wants a piece of the cryptocurrency action -- but you'll need dollars to pay for that Frappuccino.


By now, you may have heard -- Starbucks is betting that customers are willing to trade their hard-earned bitcoins for a straw-free cup of cold brew.

But contrary to the headlines you might have seen around the web, Starbucks isn't planning to actually accept bitcoins itself.

"Customers will not be able to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin," a Starbucks spokesperson reportedly told Motherboard. That's pretty clear.

So what's actually going on here? Starbucks is simply the "flagship retailer" for a new cryptocurrency company called Bakkt, whose purpose is to let users and companies alike trade digital money and convert it into traditional money, all around the world. Microsoft is also on board.

And traditional money is what Starbucks is hoping to get out of the arrangement: 

"As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks," said Maria Smith, vice president, partnerships and payments for Starbucks, in the press release announcing the move. [Editors' note: We added the bold font.]

"It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. Rather, the exchange will convert digital assets like bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks," a Starbucks spokesperson confirmed to Motherboard.

Why does Starbucks care? It's a little-known fact that Starbucks, not Apple Pay or Google Pay, is the leader for proximity-based mobile payments (read: tap to pay at a cash register) in the US. It might like to maintain that lead.

Starbucks didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.