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Amazon doesn’t take Dogecoin as payment on its site

May 6, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Amazon and Dogecoin struck a deal for Amazon to accept Dogecoin on its site.

AP ASSESSMENT: False. Amazon confirmed it doesn’t take any cryptocurrency as payment for its products. However, third-party applications can purchase Amazon gift cards on the customer’s behalf by exchanging crypto for government-issued currency.

THE FACTS: When software developers Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus started the cryptocurrency Dogecoin in 2013, it was created as a joke. For most of its seven-year history, each Dogecoin was worth less than a percentage of a cent. In May, however, the cryptocurrency peaked in value at 66 cents. For comparison, each Bitcoin is currently valued over $55,000.

Digital currencies have increased in value over the last 18 months as a greater number of companies have accepted them as a form of payment, according to The Associated Press. As part of this rise in adoption, misinformation has spread online about which companies accept cryptocurrency.

A post on Facebook falsely claimed, “AMAZON NOW ACCEPTS DOGECOIN!!!!” A Youtube video announced, “DOGECOIN SIGNS AMAZON DEAL! (BREAKING NEWS!),” erroneously suggesting Dogecoin and Amazon reached a deal for Amazon to accept the digital currency.

But Amazon, the largest e-commerce site in the world, denied that digital currencies could be used directly on the site. In an email asking whether Amazon currently accepts Dogecoin or any cryptocurrency as payment, Amazon spokesperson Nell Rona said, “No.”

Ross Nicoll, one of the core developers who keeps Dogecoin running, also confirmed in an email that Amazon and Dogecoin had not been in contact regarding accepting the cryptocurrency on the site.

Financial experts said Dogecoin and other digital currencies are too risky, which is why they haven’t been widely adopted as a payment method.

“If you were a merchant, why would you accept Bitcoin for payment? Or why would you accept Dogecoin for payment if the very next day, it could go down by 10% or 15%?” said Lee Reiners, executive director at Duke University School of Law’s Global Financial Markets Center. “It just doesn’t make practical sense. It’s too volatile. So that’s the main reason why it’s not used as a payment mechanism.”

Confusing the situation is the fact that a small number of third-party applications that manage cryptocurrency serve as intermediaries for consumers who want to make purchases online.

“Customers can purchase Amazon gift cards using Bitcoin from a small number of authorized resellers,” Rona said in an email.

One such reseller is BitPay, which announced on Tuesday that it now facilitates the use of Dogecoin to purchase gift cards on sites like Amazon. But that still doesn’t mean that Amazon accepts cryptocurrency on its site. Amazon receives government-issued currency when BitPay purchases gift cards on behalf of the customer.

“BitPay’s Chrome browser extension enables users to turn crypto into gift cards for redemption at the merchant’s site,” Jan Jahosky, a BitPay spokesperson, told the AP in an email. “Using BitPay, a business receives settlement the next business day directly to its bank account in its local fiat currency like US Dollars or Euros.”

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536