Starbucks is not yet accepting bitcoin for purchases. But customers can use bitcoin to load an app and get a 20 percent discount using the app to pay for purchases at many Starbucks stores. The app, foldapp.com, also plans to include purchases at Target and Whole Foods.
The ability to use bitcoin to make purchases through apps and gift cards at major retailers takes bitcoin one step closer to mass consumer acceptance.
How it works
Starbucks customers are loading bitcoin onto foldapp. Foldapp then transfers the designated amount from the customer’s bitcoin wallet to a virtual Starbucks gift card. The customer takes their smartphone to Starbucks and presents the barcode to the barista, who scans the bar code. Fold sends refunds to the customer’s bitcoin wallet.
Several Starbucks customers have posted comments on Reddit and elsewhere that they have been using the foldapp at Starbucks.
The foldapp website states that it is not affiliated with Starbucks Corp.
A Starbucks spokesperson contacted by CCN declined to comment on foldapp other than to confirm that there is no affiliation between the two companies.
More than 2,000 Starbucks purchases
Matt Luongo, CEO of foldapp, told CCN that foldapp has delivered more than 2,000 purchases, mostly in the last four months. He said the first version of the app, coinforcoffee.com, launched about a year ago. The app relaunched in September as Fold.
Luongo said the foldapp can work in 10,000 locations in eight countries. “There are a few exceptions that don’t work (e.g., franchises, some airports) but the coverage is pretty strong,” he said.
He said foldapp buys Starbucks e-gift cards with another gift card service he heads, cardforcoin.com. Cardforcoin.com allows people to trade Starbucks, Target, Amazon and Walmart cards for bitcoin or dogecoin. The cardholder enters their gift card information, then cardforcoin makes them an offer for the gift card. If the cardholder accepts the offer, cardforcoin debits their gift card and sends the cardholder the agreed-upon value to their bitcoin or dogecoin wallet. The cardforcoin offers range between 40 and 90 percent of the card balance, and vary based on demand.
More retailers to come
“We’re looking forward to using the same approach to support a number of other retailers this summer,” he said.
Starbucks’ website offers a payment app that customers can download from the App store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore. The Starbucks website does not mention any discount for purchases made with the app.
Luongo noted in a Reddit posting that Card for Coin Inc. is working with BTCJam and BitLendingClub at Boost VC to accept more cards.