Will a recent survey persuade Amazon to expand its crypto footprint?

E-commerce company Amazon 3Q preview

Is Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) considering a “Big Play” in Crypto-Land? As news begins to trickle in that high-tech giants like Google, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Samsung, and others have several efforts in the works to incorporate blockchain technology and possibly cryptocurrencies, as well, into their daily operating systems, speculation continues to mount as to what Amazon might be developing in the background. To date, Amazon has only dabbled in a few blockchain related projects, but a new survey might draw attention to its reluctance.

The folks at Investing.com poled more than 1,000 Amazon clients to assess what potential services might be lacking in the company’s current list of products and services. The obvious “winners” in such a vague public opinion survey were what you might expect. Suggestions ran the gamut between computer services and special coupon/deals to prescription drugs and even medical marijuana. The surprise was that the selling of crypto services raised a 12.7% interest factor in an unprompted survey environment.

As low as that figure seems, it roughly approximates the level of awareness of cryptos amongst the general public at large. Crypto enthusiasts have always wondered why such an e-commerce giant, sporting over 300 million customers, could not welcome Bitcoin or other altcoins as acceptable payment devices on its online retail portal. On occasion, Amazon has cited the price volatility of the various coin programs as a deterrent, but these comments were made long before stablecoins began their ascendance.

Pundits have posited that it was only a matter of time. In fact, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, cannot fathom why Amazon has delayed embracing cryptos:

For any internet (non-physical) based business, I don’t understand why anyone would not accept crypto for payments. It is easier, faster and cheaper to integration than traditional payment gateways. Less paperwork. And reaches more diverse demographic and geography.

Amazon has not ignored cryptos and blockchain technology. It has dabbled here and there with patent filings, domain names, and a few mild attempts at blockchain deployments, but at the end of the day, the management team seems conflicted. On the one hand they want what their customers want, but on the other, they cannot seem to agree on what that special thing is.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy has said on one day that the policy of the company’s is not to “build technology because we think it is cool.” Then, two days later, AWS announces a major blockchain “partnership with R3 — a major blockchain consortium of over 200 members — to allow its Corda platform to become one of the first distributed ledger technology solutions (DLT) on the AWS marketplace”. Other partnerships have followed, all designed to make it easier for developers to create and manage blockchain networks on the AWS platform.

AWS hosts more than two-dozen blockchain-oriented platforms on its infrastructure, but analysts believe that Amazon has not realized the full potential of the technology. Kash Rangan, a research analyst with Bank of America, noted in an interview with CNBC that, “Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient.” AWS must have heard the comment. In December of last year, it launched two new distributed ledger services.

Will a 12.7% survey rate influence Amazon’s future crypto exploits? You can be sure that Amazon will or has already conducted its own research related to crypto adoption, but until it stops equivocating internally, the industry will continue to speculate that a stablecoin of some sort is in the works.

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