Yet another mainstream company has taken its first steps into the cryptosphere. Following Facebook, Nike, Nordstrom, Home Depot, Starbucks, and others, mobile phone network AT&T announced yesterday that customers can now pay their phone bills in crypto.
The payments will be facilitated through crypto payment processor BitPay, either online or in-app. AT&T will not store the payments in crypto; instead, BitPay converts the crypto into fiat before giving it to the company.
AT&T vice president of AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations Kevin McDorman explained that the motivation behind adding BitPay has to do with broadening the company’s appeal to various groups of customers.
Motivation Isn’t Entirely Clear
“We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services,” he said in an official statement. “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.”
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However, former crypto hedge fund manager sees the move as rather random–perhaps an attempt to appeal more to millennials. “Maybe AT&T has internal data that shows more millennials using/requesting payment capabilities in crypto,” McCann told The Block, asking “what upside does AT&T have in supporting crypto payments?”
Indeed, it’s unlikely that many users will start to take advantage of the new service. However, if nothing else, the move could indicate AT&Ts flexibility company and its interest in the crypto space as a whole.
BitPay Says Fortune 500 Companies Are Becoming More Interested in Crypto
AT&T reportedly began its more serious interest in crypto approximately one year ago, when BitPay reached out to the company. However, BitPay’s Chief Commercial Officer, Sunny Singh, said that AT&T led the way after that initial step: “AT&T did a great job making this happen.”
Now that the first mobile phone carrier has taken steps into the cryptosphere, other companies are more likely to follow. Singh said that in general, a greater number of large companies are becoming more interested in accepting crypto payments.
“The big companies want to learn,” he explained. “We’ve met with executive teams at many Fortune 500 companies to explain to them how [crypto] works and we brain storm on how we can work together.”