Less than two months ago, Amazon made headlines by announcing that it wouldn’t be accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment. The announcement sparked several opinion pieces explaining and praising the decision (e.g. Why Amazon is right to steer clear of Bitcoin). Sometime between April 15 and May 28, however, the e-commerce and public cloud giant appeared to do a 180-degree turnabout and securing a Bitcoin-related cloud computing patent.
According to an article from Coindesk.com, the patent was originally filed in March 2012, but resurfaced only recently. The patent explicitly states that, “Various types of digital cash, electronic money or crypto-currency can be used, such as bitcoins provided by the Bitcoin P2P [peer-to-peer] Currency System.”
Some speculate that the patent could lead to cloud computing services consumed under a whole new set of guidelines — with no subscriptions or minimum time commitments required, creating a pay-per-use model. While the apparent turnaround in Amazon’s Bitcoin attitude isn’t yet totally clear, a recent article from The Motley Fool may shed some light on the matter:
“Amazon appears to have its own plans to create a virtual currency. It launched Coins last year. Coins can currently be used only for purchases of apps for the Kindle Fire, but a complete infrastructure could be built out in the future. The objective of Amazon’s virtual currency is to replace cash and to encourage consumers to spend more.”
Regardless of Amazon’s true intentions, one thing that is becoming clearer is that this new form of currency is gaining momentum and is not likely at this point to become the “Betamax” of digital currency any time soon. Also noteworthy for the channel is the fact that e-commerce and public cloud giants like Amazon’s primary motivator for investing in this type of currency has much more to do with driving consumer behavior (i.e. pay for what you want, no contracts) than it is to drive B2B sales. Then again, this wouldn’t be first time that we saw a trend start out in the consumer market and cross over to the commercial market (i.e. BYOD).