BitPay CCO Discusses AT&T Bitcoin Payment Acceptance Deal for the Fortune 500 Company
It is always an encouraging sign for the crypto community when a major firm begins accepting cryptocurrency as a method of payment. One of the recent examples of this was AT&T who announced in May 2019 that they will become the first major mobile carrier that accepts Bitcoin for being payments through their website and mobile app as part of a partnership with BitPay.
It was not only a signal of a new wave of mass adoption but also put crypto in the forefront for their more than 150 million customers. The community was curious as to how the company was convinced to take on such a bold move and CCN recently sat down with Sonny Singh, who is the chief commercial officer at BitPay, about how the move was made.
Breaking New Ground
According to Singh, this move by a Fortune 500 company is always an interesting one because new revenue is not necessarily needed by them and they are generally more conservative.
“Whenever a Fortune 500 company accepts bitcoin, it’s always pretty interesting, because they don’t need the revenue,”
says BitPay Chief Commercial Officer Sonny Singh.
“And, the big brands are a little more conservative, while bitcoin is a newer payment option. You would think the cooler companies would be rushing to accept bitcoin before Dish Network, AT&T, and Microsoft.”
According to him, there is a benefit to pitching cryptocurrency to big companies as they have more resources and are more willing to take risks compared to smaller ones.
“Big companies are the ones that are being more innovative than the smaller companies,” he says. “
The smaller companies are new to the payments space. They don’t understand how it works, and they are just so busy with their road map. They can’t see that by adding bitcoin, they’re going to increase their revenue a couple of percentage points every month. They don’t seem to care about that, though its cheaper than a credit card, too. The big brands see that this is innovative, and they want to be a part of that.
According to Singh, discussions surrounding the acceptance of Bitcoin at BitPay begun a year-and-a-half ago and the company had stayed in touch with AT&T and had given several pitches to the CEO. When the decision to accept cryptocurrency was made, a chain of command needed to be followed.
The CEO needed to sign off on it after discussions were held internally about the matter. Then the legal team had to look at the government regulations and as well as the finance and tax team making inquiries as to what long-term effects the decision to accept Bitcoin could have on their taxes and on their finances as a whole. Then the marketing team came on board and conducted testing as to how the payment flow would work.
Singh has also stated that the company was rather surprised by the amount of attention they received regarding their decision to accept cryptocurrency got from the public.
“They thought they would make a statement and that’d be it,” said Singh. “They’re surprised by all the attention they got. It’s just another payment option to them, like adding Apple Pay or Google Pay,”
Singh pointed out that those who criticize the company for cashing out their crypto into fiat immediately are misunderstanding how the business model works. According to him, when a company accepts Visa or MasterCard did not get visa or MasterCard credit but instead get USD and this system works in a similar way.
He did concede that the acceptance of Bitcoin by AT&T has made many more firms enquire about possibly adopting a similar system and this could lead to even more adoption in the future
“When I tell brands now that AT&T just went live, they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing. Explain how it works, maybe we should do this, too,’”
“AT&T helped brands all over America move faster to accept bitcoin now, which is the most important thing,”