AT&T to Accept Cryptocurrency Mobile Payments for Online Bill Payments
Easily one of the biggest problems cryptocurrency faced as it made a push for the mainstream was a marked lack of use cases. Aside from buying it and hoarding it in a bid to find the “next bitcoin” that would turn a pittance into a full retirement package, there wasn’t exactly a lot to do unless you were on Overstock.com. That’s been slowly changing over the last couple of years, though, and recently, AT&T announced that it was set to accept cryptocurrency payments via BitPay.
This makes AT&T the first major mobile provider that accepts cryptocurrency for bill payments. Users can either pay through the AT&T website, or via the myAT&T mobile app, selecting BitPay as an option. Better yet, BitPay doesn’t even require users to sign up to pay their AT&T bills with the service; rather, all users need is a functioning bitcoin wallet to take care of that.
AT&T’s vice president of finance business operations, Kevin McDorman, noted “We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services. We have customers who use cryptocurrency and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”
On the one hand, this makes a great way for AT&T to make a little more name for itself and get some free press cycles with little or no trouble on its part. On the other, the overall impact of this is likely to be minimal. It seems that AT&T is really only taking bitcoin here; as noted previously, those interested need a bitcoin wallet. So those hoping to pay with Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple or even Dogecoin will be out in the cold, at least until they convert their crypto to AT&T’s coin of choice. However, if AT&T is taking cryptocurrency, then can Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile be very far behind? Even if not many people are interested in paying bills via bitcoin, the other major firms can hardly afford to risk losing potential—or even current—customers to a fairly readily duplicated advantage.
Still, this is an important step forward for the broader cryptocurrency market. Cryptocurrency’s mainstreaming will require use cases, and the more places that accept cryptocurrency as payment, the more likely people will be to actually use it instead of HODLing forever.