Luckin Coffee Surges, Starbucks Looking to Blockchain and Bitcoin

By May 19, 2019 Bitcoin Business
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Luckin Coffee jumped 20 percent in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq stock market. Often referred to as the ‘Chinese Starbucks,’ the company is putting a squeeze on its American competition.

Luckin Coffee had its first day of trading on the NASDAQ this past Friday, jumping more than 50 percent in its first day of trading before settling on $20.38, up from $17.00 at the opening. The 20 percent jump on its first day has made the American house coffee leader, Starbucks, nervous.

Currently, Luckin Coffee has nearly 2,400 stores in China, compared to Starbucks’ 3,500. The Chinese competitor’s success, though, has not yet put much of a dent in Starbucks revenue. This past Friday, the company’s stocks hit an all-time high of $78.91, up around 35 percent from just a year ago. Currently, it boasts a market capitalization of around $96B.

Luckin Coffee has its work cut out for it to catch up, currently valued at $5B. However, this is only its first day of trading. Starbucks, admittedly, can’t be ignoring Luckin’s rapid expansion plans to double its number of stores by the end of this year.

luckin coffee

Starbucks Looks to Blockchain Technology

With Luckin Coffee’s aggressive expansion plans and speedy delivery services, Starbucks is still searching for how it can get an edge on its competitors in China where its name recognition is simply not enough. This is part of the reason why the company has been looking at emerging technologies.

In a Fox Business Interview with CEO Howard Schultz, he said that “I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of.”

In 2018, the coffee giant declared itself as one of Bakkt’s key partners, alongside Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group. According to its press release, Starbucks is both looking to invest in Bitcoin futures trading and accept cryptocurrencies at its coffeehouses. A recent report from March elaborated that Bitcoin-related payments at stores would come once an equity deal is made between Bakkt and the company.

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Are Starbucks Bitcoin Payments Even Possible?

Starbucks is likely looking to Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies as a means of bypassing Visa’s and MasterCard’s interchange fees. However, Bitcoin’s current poor scalability and relatively high fees make it unsuitable for micro-transactions, so it’s still unclear how the company can implement BTC-based payments on-chain.

The proposal will likely require crypto payments off-chain which will be settled on the blockchain later by a custodial service. This is precisely the initiative started by Flexacoin and Gemini recently, which listed the coffee company as one of its accepted stores.

Do you believe blockchain technology will form some component of Starbuck’s expansion plans against Luckin Coffee? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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