Does Amazon Accept Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies for Payment?
Amazon does not directly accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin or any other cryptocurrency.
Why Amazon Won’t Accept Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies
Amazon has not provided specific reasons for not accepting bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, but there has been plenty of speculation as to what they might be. However, there are a few possible reasons and we’ll speculate why here.
- Price and Volatility – Cryptocurrencies have a high and unpredictable volatility index, making pricing items and accepting payments difficult.
- Bad Reputation – Crypto has a reputation of being used for crime and susceptible scams and hacks.
- Minimal Government Regulation & Guidance – Many governments have little to no crypto regulation, other governments have banned cryptocurrencies and guidance around use and taxation of crypto can be complicated.
- Gas Fees – Gas fees to complete transactions can be costly to users depending on network congestion and would be prohibitive to many users completing purchases with crypto.
- Environmental Concerns – Crypto has the perception of being energy-intensive and bad for the environment which can be bad PR for Amazon. Tesla and Wikipedia are two recent examples of companies that stopped accepting crypto payments due to environmental concerns.
“Notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true,” an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters.
When Will Amazon Accept Crypto?
Amazon has not set a date for when they will directly accept crypto payments. In April 2022, the Amazon Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy told CNBC that at that time, there were no plans to add third-party cryptocurrencies as a payment option. But the company may take a path trailblazer by rival retailers such as eBay; the online auction marketplace that began allowing the sale of NFTs in May of 2021. The Amazon CEO did drop a hint about the company allowing a similar option for Amazon at some point in the future.
Another possibility is that Amazon will release its own cryptocurrency. An Amazon token would allow customers to shop on Amazon and pay with the Amazon’s very own cryptocurrency. Additional tokenomics to hodling and paying with an Amazon crypto token could provide endless utility.
Is Amazon really interested in only accepting payments using virtual currency? Or does it have loftier ambitions in the space?
Amazon Web Services is the arm of the company providing cloud services to enterprise-level entities, startup companies, and governments. These groups pay Amazon for a network the companies would otherwise have to develop on their own–an expensive proposition.
At least one source notes that Amazon’s network supports a large portion of crypto. How large? Some 25 percent of all Ethereum workloads in the world. And lest we forget, an overwhelming majority of NFT projects are Ethereum-based. Even if it’s just by association, Amazon is positioned to make an incredible impression should it ever decide to go all-in on crypto.
How to Pay with Cryptocurrency on Amazon
As mentioned above there is no way to directly pay with crypto but there are several indirect ways to make payments. The best way to spend crypto on Amazon is via the BitPay Card or to buy Amazon gift cards with crypto.
Use BitPay Pay on Amazon
BitPay offers both an app and a debit card that can be used to purchase on Amazon or purchase gift cards. You can fund your BitPay account using a variety of cryptocurrencies and purchase gift cards using the BitPay card. Supported cryptocurrencies include:
The BitPay Card is a crypto debit card that works similar to other debit cards. However, instead of connecting to a traditional bank account, you can load the card from a crypto wallet. Instantly start spending Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and other coins on Amazon purchases.
Use Crypto on Amazon by Buying Gift Cards in the BitPay app
Another way to spend crypto on Amazon purchases is through gift cards. BitPay lets you buy gift cards with crypto to use at hundreds of shops and businesses, including Amazon. Spend crypto at Amazon right from the BitPay Wallet or any other connected crypto wallet.
Use Bitrefill to Pay on Amazon
There are also services such as Bitrefill that not only allow you to buy gift cards with crypto but also may provide credit card-type rewards for doing so. Some sources complain that this workaround isn’t as easy as others, but it’s definitely an option. Supported virtual currencies include:
Use Blockcard to Pay on Amazon
Unbanked offers a debit card that you can fund with your cryptocurrency. Unlike other cards that act more like a gift card and force you to convert your crypto to FIAT before you can make purchases, Unbanked allow you to stay in crypto until the point of sale. The Unbanked Debit Card can easily integrates with Apply Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay for a more frictionless transaction experience.
You cannot buy and sell directly using cryptocurrency on PayPal. You are permitted to buy and hold crypto using a PayPal account, and the workaround here is that you can convert cryptocurrency back to cash. Amazon does not allow you to use PayPal to make purchases but you may be able to use a PayPal Cash Card or PayPal Business Debit Mastercard. You may also have the option of purchasing an Amazon gift card using PayPal.
One great example of a debit card you can top up with crypto? The BlockCard Visa debit card, created in response to “a significant gap between digital currencies and the real-world economy,” according to Unbanked.com.
Some of these cards have $5,000 daily spending limits and may even come with replacement protection plans depending on the vendor. BlockCard comes with a mobile app and even has a special staking program that pays rewards in the card’s own currency TERN.
What’s the catch on this card? For some it’s the terms of service that include the following line:
“All deposited funds will automatically convert to TERN, which is BlockCard’s default spendable asset”. Does that sound like a red flag? It may to some, but keep in mind the next line in the terms of service indicate that TERN in your account “will instantly convert to USD when the crypto Visa is used at any of the over 50 million merchants worldwide”.
Another example is Crypto.com, which allows you to pay using crypto on Amazon, eBay, and Walmart. However, the service is not allowed in the State of New York. You can fund a Crypto.com account with just about any virtual currency with a market cap above $1 million USD.
Participate In An Exchange Marketplace
Websites like Purse.io offer a matching service. Instead of matchmaking in a dating context, companies like this match those who want to buy goods on Amazon with those who want to exchange Amazon gift cards for Bitcoin.
Options like this may typically feature many options aside from Amazon; any major retailer with a gift card option could potentially be represented. Let the buyer beware, gift cards are a major component in certain scams and if you want to buy an Amazon card with Bitcoin it pays to check out the platform or the trader you want to do business with.
What kind of online reputation does the individual or the company have among peers? Researching that before you spend is crucial to avoid getting scammed.
As with any cryptocurrency offer you may find, it is a smart idea to research the opportunity before you sink any money into the option. What is the card or service’s online reputation and how recently has it been given negative reviews, gotten negative press, etc. Knowing what other users or reviewers have to say about any of these options may help you make a more informed decision about how to proceed.
Places you can begin searching for clues about a vendor or card include the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and any cryptocurrency news site that reports on such issues reliably and without too much pro-crypto bias.
Does Amazon Have Its Own Cryptocurrency? What are Amazon Coins?
The short answer is yes. Believe it or not, Amazon does have its own virtual currency, known as Amazon Coins. Described as “a virtual currency that you can purchase and then use to purchase eligible apps, games, and in-app items from the Amazon Appstore on the Amazon official site.
Each of these coins is worth one penny and you can purchase these in “discounted bundles” on Amazon.com, via Amazon Fire tablets, and through the Appstore app for Windows 11 and Android devices. These coins have an expiration date if they are freebies, but do not expire if you purchase them.
Amazon Coins lets you save on eligible games and in-game items sold by Amazon Appstore. You can buy Amazon Coins bundles for a discounted price exclusively from Amazon. Preload your account with Coins to save time (and money!) when making in-app purchases.
Are these coins getting the same attention as the better-known virtual currencies on the market today? Likely not, but the fact that Amazon has these virtual coins as a going concern should be an indicator of trends to come.
It’s interesting to note that Amazon is tied to a still-volatile but less controversial blockchain effort than Bitcoin; the environmental issues associated with Bitcoin mining are at least recognized and acknowledged with Ethereum projects.
Amazon’s direct support (not necessarily an endorsement by Amazon) for these decentralized processes surely is not lost on the company, but chances are good that some involved in the long-term planning for Amazon have been biding their time to see who the eventual winner might be in the crypto wars.
And certainly some have been tempted to try developing an Amazon coin for the company. Will Amazon accept crypto payments? In a small way it already has.
This is a topic large enough to warrant its own article. The short answer is that there is no way to purchase directly with crypto at Amazon, but you can use cryptocurrencies to purchase BitPay or Amazon gift cards and make the Amazon buy that way. It sounds a bit like money laundering, except there’s no speculation as to where the funds came from, only that they are crypto and need to be “converted” to something usable.
One source predicted Amazon moving into accepting “certain crypto payments” by the end of 2021. That didn’t come to pass, but given the company’s past disruption of publishing, music, and movies we shouldn’t be surprised that there are plans to get involved in a global, billion-dollar industry.
Even if the company doesn’t accept or begin accepting Bitcoin or Etherum as payment for goods and services, its ability to become a player in the NFT marketplace could be a major game-changer.
How? Look what Kindle did to publishing and ask yourself if an NFT-centric version of a tablet or mobile device like a Kindle would revolutionize the industry by acting as a browser, hardware wallet, and content creation device simultaneously. The way that iTunes changed music with both the delivery system and the storage unit for those files? That’s a model that could be under development, or the emphasis might be on developing an Amazon platform for NFT sales to rival something like OpenSea.io.
And it’s always possible that none of these things are on the table and that development in this area is still fairly risk-averse due to a lack of federal regulation and overall uncertainty in that aspect of the industry. Could Amazon be waiting out the “will-they/won’t they” regulatory piece of the puzzle. The smart money is on “yes.”
Joe Wallace has covered real estate and financial topics, including crypto and NFTs since 1995. His work has appeared on Veteran.com, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and many print and online publications. Joe is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.