Telecom Giant AT&T Gains First-Mover Status by Accepting Crypto

May 23, 2019 20:20 UTC

By CCN: AT&T announced today that it is accepting crypto payments through Bitpay, which supports a number of major cryptocurrencies. A short press release notes that the integration is complete and users can make payments with Bitpay via the AT&T website or through the mobile app.

2019: Year of Major Companies Accepting Crypto

AT&T Vice President of Communications Finance Business Operations Kevin McDorman stated:

“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.”

The news follows a recent spate of SIM-jacking incidents in which AT&T (and other) customers lost crypto as a result of customer service representatives being tricked into allowing the reassignment of SIMs belonging to people known to hold crypto. SIM-jacking is a weak point in crypto security models that use SMS-based two-factor authentication.

One of these incidents led to a high-profile lawsuit and a $75 million victory so far. The case against AT&T is ongoing.

AT&T is one of many major U.S. companies to obtain a blockchain-based patent. Their patent is related to “mapping” social media interactions of users, potentially creating an immutable record of social media activity, for advertising purposes.

AT&T: First Major U.S. Telecom to Accept Crypto

Another AT&T patent involves a Bitcoin-powered subscriber server.

The giant also has a suite of enterprise blockchain services, joining IBM and other major old-world technology companies that have entered the game.

AT&T is the first major telecom company in the U.S. to accept cryptocurrency. The trend of 2019 seems to be major companies accepting cryptocurrency, with Whole Foods recently joining the party. Starbucks is also accepting crypto now, albeit on the down-low.

Major retailers such as Overstock.com have long accepted cryptocurrency and even supported the industry very vocally.

Around the world, telecom companies have long been invested in blockchain. South Korea’s KT Corp has an enterprise blockchain solution, while IBM is trying to get Indian telecoms to use blockchain for do-not-call registries.

Major companies have announced crypto acceptance only to turn it off later on. These include sites like Expedia and Rakuten. Rakuten recently partnered with a blockchain company in China that uses the blockchain to verify the goods sold are veritably Japanese and not fake.

Virtually anyone can pay their phone bills with crypto using Bitrefill, one of the older companies in the blockchain space that works with AT&T and others.

This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.

Last modified: May 23, 2019 20:17 UTC

@bitillionaire

P. H. Madore has written for CCN since 2014. Please send breaking news tips or requests for investigation to bitillionaire+phm@gmail.com. He lives in Maine, USA. A single father of four young children, he does not discourage financial donations, provided they do not come with strings attached.