In the future, you could possibly pay on your Uber with Bitcoin. Or, not less than, that’s what Dara Khosrowshahi, the corporate’s CEO, informed Bloomberg.
This sounds good, however for those who ask me? It’s nothing however a advertising stunt.
Earlier than you name me biased, let’s take a better look at what Khosrowshahi stated:
Is Uber going to simply accept crypto sooner or later? Completely, sooner or later. This isn’t the fitting level, however we’ll.
I really like the wording right here. The understanding of “completely” paired with an indefinite future time is the right approach to make a promise with out actually making one.
It additionally jogs my memory of my very own recurring assertion to my pals: I’ll undoubtedly enroll at a fitness center sooner or later.
No, I haven’t achieved so but — and it’s been two years since I stated it. And, between you and me, it’s most likely not occurring any time quickly.
Coming again to Uber, why isn’t now “the fitting level” to begin accepting crypto?
Khosrowshahi cited price and environmental impression as the 2 important causes:
Because the alternate mechanism turns into cheaper and turns into extra environmentally pleasant, I believe you will note us leaning into crypto slightly bit extra.
Certainly, these are strong causes.
In accordance with Bitinfocharts, the common Bitcoin transaction payment was $1.9 in January (which isn’t dangerous), but it surely’s been fluctuating considerably over the past yr, from $0.8 to $62.7.
And sure, Bitcoin mining has raised considerations over its great power consumption, greenhouse emissions, water use, and e-waste points.
Let’s not neglect the cryptocurrency’s volatility both. On Friday afternoon, a single Bitcoin was value $42,628. In November 2021, it hit an all-time excessive of $69,000. This fluctuation doesn’t make it a really perfect fee device.
Right here’s the kicker: Khosrowshahi’s causes to not settle for Bitcoin are unpredictable. This implies it’s inconceivable to say when — and if — the associated fee and environmental impression will change to satisfy Uber’s (completely unspecified) requirements.
All this leads me to consider that the corporate’s courting of Bitcoin is extra a advertising technique than an actual dedication.
Copy from the most effective
We’ve one other participant throughout the automotive house utilizing an identical method: you guessed it, Tesla.
Tesla’s on and off relationship with Bitcoin has attracted a shedload of media consideration — and has even affected the crypto’s worth as effectively.
It dived when the EV maker paused Bitcoin funds again in Might, and rallied when Musk introduced they’re going to re-accept it one month later.
Elon defined customers pays with the cryptocurrency solely when round 50% of Bitcoin’s power use is equipped by renewable sources. Nicely, not less than he gave some specifics — not like Uber.
Within the meantime, Musk considered one other method to make use of crypto to draw media protection: Dogecoin. It’s now accepted for some merch in Tesla’s on-line retailer.
Resourceful as ever, Elon even nudged McDonald’s to simply accept the joke coin:
I’ll eat a contented meal on television if @McDonalds accepts Dogecoin
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2022
I doubt we’ll see Uber’s CEO embarking on comparable stunts — in spite of everything, not everybody has Musk’s determined want for consideration. Regardless of this, it seems the corporate is adopting a few of Tesla’s crypto advertising techniques to achieve some column inches and shift its public narrative.
And it has many causes to take action.
Uber has been hit by the pandemic and journey restrictions, it’s been preventing authorized battles with EU nations and taxi associations, it’s affected by driver shortages, and its inventory has been dropping. For reference, Uber’s market worth is now down 21.3% during the last yr.
Underneath this mild, bringing out the large advertising weapons and splashing phrases like “blockchain” and “Bitcoin” round looks like a great way to seize some a lot wanted press.
Sure, I do know. I’m really serving to Uber by writing these phrases. However what are you able to do? I merely couldn’t resist.