Over the past week, rumors have swirled that Amazon may be preparing to accept bitcoin as a form of payment, a decision which would lend immediate credibility and legitimacy to the cryptocurrency. Last week, Die Welt reported that fintech sources in Silicon Valley were suggesting that the global online retail giant could soon integrate Bitcoin as a payment option.
When questioned, an Amazon spokesman replied to the German publication in a predictably generic fashion: "(Amazon) opts to include new products or services only when these are useful for our customers - until that point, we do not engage in rough speculation”, CoinTelegraph reported.
Amazon has faced years of lobbying and rumors regarding its Bitcoin relationship ever since smaller competitor Overstock (which recently announced plans to raise capital via an ICO) became a pioneering virtual currency adherent in 2013. While multiple other midsize operators have since engaged with Bitcoin, Amazon’s participation would still be a first-of-its-kind move. Meanwhile, several dedicated services already exist to offer purchases with Bitcoin from their websites through the intermediary of gift cards.
And while Amazon has refused to commit on the record, rumors that the world's biggest online retailer may be adopting cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, got a renewed push today when CoinDesk reported that according to industry news site DomainNameWire, Amazon has registered three cryptocurrency-related web domains, online records show.
According to information from Whois Lookup, three domains – "amazonethereum.com," "amazoncryptocurrency.com" and "amazoncryptocurrencies.com" – were registered on Oct. 31. The domains are linked to Amazon Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. that has been attributed to past patent filings from the e-commerce company.
Phone numbers listed on the registration documents connect to Amazon's legal department, though a representative of that office could not be reached by press time.
While coindesk admits that as of this moment, "it's not entirely clear what purpose the domain names will serve" the mere fact that Amazon has telegraphed its intentions vis-a-vis the crypto space may be sufficient to boost demand for the digital currency even more, as the eventual acceptance by Amazon would be widely seen as a universal stamp of approval. What is interesting is that Amazon may be branching out beyond merely the generic "bitcoin" and into its biggest competitor, which arguable has broader corporate acceptance, ethereum.
Then again, Amazon may be simply moving to safeguard its brand. Back in 2013, Amazon secured "amazonbitcoin.com," which currently redirects to Amazon's main page – an arrangement that further suggests the protective intent of the registration.
Alternatively, Amazon could be seeking to avoid confusion between cryptocurrencies and Amazon Coin, a virtual currency product introduced in 2013 that serves as an online payment method for customers.