Uber and Adyen CEOs both say no to Bitcoin for now

The Adyen CEO expressed concern about Bitcoin’s volatility in regards to a payment method, while Uber “quickly dismissed” discussions about purchasing the crypto asset.

Chief executive officers at e-commerce firm Adyen and ridesharing and delivery app Uber are not following in Tesla’s Bitcoin footsteps just yet, but for different reasons.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box today, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said conversations about Bitcoin (BTC) as an investment for the tech firm have been “quickly dismissed.” Khosrowshahi was responding to a question as to whether the company would copy Tesla’s example by setting aside a percentage of its investment portfolio into Bitcoin.

“We’re going to keep our cash safe,” he said. “We’re not in the speculation business. The upside in our company is our business that we build, not our investments that we invest in.”

Khosrowshahi’s comments are curious given reports of Uber’s financials. Though Tesla has more than $19 billion in cash on hand and was able to invest roughly 7.7% of these funds into Bitcoin, data from HyperCharts shows Uber had only $5.6 billion in cash as of Q4 2020, with negative cash flows recorded for the last three years — the company last reported a quarterly net profit in Q1 2018. Uber cash flow. Source: HyperCharts

Pieter van der Does, the CEO and co-founder of Amsterdam-based payment processor Adyen, did not quite echo Khosrowshahi’s sentiment on crypto investments, but expressed his concern about Bitcoin being used for payments given its volatility — the price of the crypto asset has surged more than 25% in a week to reach $47,922 at the time of publication.

“Bitcoin is more of an investment asset than a payment method,” said van der Does. “We are interested in payment methods which are being used […] I am wondering if the huge movement in the value of Bitcoin is helping it as a payment method.”

Unlike Adyen, Khosrowshahi said the 78 million monthly active users of the Uber app could be seeing BTC or other tokens used as a medium of exchange:”We are going to look at cryptocurrency and/or Bitcoin in terms of currency to transact […] if there’s a benefit there, if there’s a need there, we’ll do it.”

Following Tesla’s $1.5 billion Bitcoin purchase this week, many tech firm executives have been directly asked if they will follow Elon Musk’s example and invest in crypto, or consider offering it for payments in the future. Strategists at JPMorgan Chase have argued that Bitcoin’s high volatility could potentially prevent companies from adopting the crypto asset as a store of value. 

However, some firms have already taken positions, likely due to the media coverage around Tesla and Bitcoin’s subsequent surge. Twitter CFO Ned Segal floated the idea of paying its employees in BTC, but General Motors CEO Mary Barra said the car manufacturer had no plans to add Bitcoin to its portfolio.

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