After two lackluster months of hovering in the low $30,000s, Bitcoin’s dollar value finally rebounded over the weekend, jumping more than 10 percent near the critical level of $40,000. The reason: a hyped rumor that the cryptocurrency will soon be accepted by the world’s largest online retailer.
An anonymous source told the British newspaper City A.M. that Amazon is “definitely” planning to accept Bitcoin as a payment method by the end of 2021 and is even mulling is own “native coin” next year.
“This is a full-on, well-discussed, integral part of the future mechanism of how Amazon will work,” the source said. “The directive is coming from the very top… Jeff Bezos himself.”
Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO last month to be replaced by his longtime lieutenant Andy Jassy, who headed Amazon Web Services. (Bezos remains as the company’s executive chairman).
The report surfaced after someone noticed a job posting on Amazon’s recruiting site looking for a cryptocurrency and blockchain lead. The position calls for someone who can “leverage domain expertise in blockchain, distributed ledger, central bank digital currencies and cryptocurrency to develop the case for the capabilities which should be developed, drive overall vision and product strategy, and gain leadership buy-in and investment for new capabilities.”
In February, the cryptocurrency news site Coin Telegraph spotted another blockchain job posting from Amazon for a digital currency project in Mexico.
City A.M.’s insider claims that Amazon’s crypto effort has been in motion since 2019 and “is pretty much ready to roll.” After Bitcoin, Amazon will adopt about seven more cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Cardano and Bitcoin Cash, before rolling out its own digital money.
In a statement on Monday, Amazon denied any plans to accept Bitcoin as payment but admitted that it’s interested in the space.
“Notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “We remain focused on exploring what this could look like for customers shopping on Amazon.”
Amazon is expected to report second-quarter earnings on Thursday. Shares ticked up 1 percent Monday morning.
Since surging to an all-time high of nearly $60,000 in spring, Bitcoin’s price movement has been increasingly influenced by corporate actions on where it’s accepted. The cryptocurrency’s latest rally, in March, was fueled by Tesla’s announcement to accept Bitcoin as payment for electric vehicles and software. When Tesla CEO Elon Musk changed his mind two months later, Bitcoin’s price tumbled and never really recovered.
With the payment announcement, Tesla also revealed that it had acquired $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin at the beginning of 2021—a stake that analysts worried would put Tesla’s share price in too close a correlation with the volatile world of cryptocurrencies.
It’s unclear how exactly Amazon will incorporate Bitcoin into its retail or cloud computing business and whether Amazon directly owns any cryptocurrencies.