AMC, the movie theater chain that caught the attention of meme stock traders throughout most of the first half of 2021, had its latest earnings call on Aug. 9. Part of the call brought up the most well-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and the company’s plans to start accepting the virtual currency for its movies and concessions soon.
AMC CEO Adam Aron said that he expects the IT systems to be fully in place for accepting Bitcoin for tickets bought online by the end of the year. This will apply across the U.S. thanks to the tickets being for online purchases. Purchases at AMC cinemas aren't expected to qualify.
Why AMC is accepting bitcoin payments
Aron noted that in the past six months, he has learned more about cryptocurrency than in the previous decade. Working with acquisition firm Centricus was vital to his crypto education and the decision to enable Bitcoin payment.
He explained that the company is "exploring how else AMC can participate in this new burgeoning cryptocurrency universe, and we're quite intrigued by potentially lucrative business [opportunities],” according to CNN Business.
In addition to Bitcoin, AMC also plans to support payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay by the end of the year. Aron explained that the team is working simultaneously on the code for Bitcoin along with the other payment platforms.
AMC and Bitcoin prices
After hearing the news of AMC’s Bitcoin payment rollout, AMC shares experienced a 5.3 percent increase in after-hours trading. Bitcoin also enjoyed a price bump and increased by 5.5 percent at night on Aug. 9 compared to the previous day.
Which other companies accept Bitcoin?
More companies and retailers are starting to get on board with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Some companies are starting with smaller test markets before rolling out the capability nationwide or globally.
Payment platform PayPal accepts buying, selling, holding, and checking out with cryptocurrencies.
In July, Burger King restaurants in Brazil started accepting the Shiba Inu-inspired cryptocurrency Dogecoin. The currency isn't usable for all purchases, but only for the chain’s dog treats, the “Dogper.”
Electric carmaker Tesla spent a few months in 2021 accepting Bitcoin, but in May CEO Elon Musk announced that the company was ceasing the practice. Last month, Musk suggested that Tesla might resume Bitcoin payments at some point.
Bakkt, a digital asset marketplace, is now partnering with quick-service sandwich chain Quiznos to enable Bitcoin payments. These will only be offered initially at select Denver restaurant locations around the middle of August.
E-commerce giant Amazon might also be joining AMC and other companies in enabling the use of Bitcoin as currency to pay for online purchases. Amazon posted a job listing for a “digital currency and blockchain product lead” that would work closely with the payments team, CNN Business reported.
A spokesperson for Amazon told CNN Business, “We believe the future will be built on new technologies that enable modern, fast and inexpensive payments, and hope to bring that future to Amazon customers as soon as possible.” However, Amazon also denied the rumors that it was seeking to bring Bitcoin payments to the company this year.