The CEO of Etsy does not expect to welcome Bitcoin as payment on the online vintage goods and crafts marketplace, and the company won't be buying crypto for its balance sheet—at least not this year.
“I don’t think it’s quite ready yet to be tender,” Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said in a conversation with Yahoo Finance Live. He added: “You need a lot of people holding it before it is actually useful as a form of tender. Never say never, but I don’t think 2021 is the year when we would prioritize that.”
Silverman’s words come during a week that has served as a sobering reminder of the volatility of Bitcoin and crypto in general.
Markets took a turn for the worse this week. On February 22 there was a Bitcoin correction of 15% in just 24 hours when the price plummeted from an all-time high of $58k to just $49k. The crash subtracted $100 million from Bitcoin’s $1 trillion market capitalization.
Bearish crypto markets this week
The crash occurred despite some tremendous institutional investment in Bitcoin this month. An SEC filing revealed Tesla’s $1.5 billion Bitcoin spend and its plans to accept Bitcoin payments in the future.
And another billion-dollar purchase by business intelligence firm MicroStrategy increased its total Bitcoin holdings to around $4.3 billion. CEO Michael Saylor, who is notoriously bullish on Bitcoin, plans to continue raising capital to buy even more.
Because of the shifting sands of crypto prices, Etsy’s position is a reminder of just how speculative an asset cryptocurrencies are. The New York-headquartered online marketplace, whose stock is cumulatively worth $27 billion, also said it has no plans to invest in crypto any time soon.
Silverman said: “I don’t think that it’s our job to speculate with our shareholders' cash. The cash that Etsy has on its balance sheet stays in very safe securities.”
Etsy is playing it safe for the time being. It’s a sentiment that’s echoed across the financial world. A recent survey by consultant Gartner revealed that only 5% of financial execs would actually consider holding Bitcoin due to its volatility.
Bitcoin’s carbon footprint is also fundamentally at odds with Etsy’s pledge to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2030. According to a study by Cambridge University, the Bitcoin network uses more than 121 terawatt-hours annually. In other words, if Bitcoin were a country it would rank 28th in the world for energy consumption.
That’s not to say that the Etsy community isn’t crypto fans though. The marketplace, founded in 2005, is still the go-to place for a frankly staggering array of crypto merchandise, including gold-plated Bitcoins, Dogecoin posters, and extremely bullish Bitcoin motivational wall art.
After the heady excitement of Bitcoin’s bull run, Etsy’s reticence about accepting Bitcoin in 2021 shows that not everyone’s caught up in the hype.
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