Wall Street analysts have peppered executives at other high-profile companies about possible bitcoin forays during recent earnings conference calls.
CEO Mary Barra said during the automaker’s earnings presentation earlier this month that GM didn’t have any plans to buy bitcoin just yet.
“We don’t have any plans to invest in bitcoin, so full stop there,” she said in response to a question from Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas.
But she did not rule out the possibility of customers one day being able to buy Chevrolets, Buicks or Cadilllacs with cryptocurrency — just as Tesla is planning to let customers use bitcoin to buy its electric cars and trucks.
“This is something we’ll monitor and we’ll evaluate. And if there’s strong customer demand for it in the future, there’s nothing that precludes us from doing that,” Barra added.
But executives at other companies, particularly financial corporatins, remain unconvinced that bitcoin should be part of their cash-management strategies.
“We’re not currently investing in cryptocurrency,” said Leslie Barbi, chief investment officer with Reinsurance Group of America (RGA)
, during an earnings conference call last week.
“My understanding is currently the accounting is different than other currencies and can create more volatility,” she added.
Volatility is a problem. The big swings in price will probably keep other major companies from putting corporate money into bitcoin.
Sure, the returns have been enormous as of late. But companies want stability from their corporate investments -— not an asset that has swung from a low of just above $4,000 to nearly $50,000 in the past year.
“We watch cryptocurrencies,” said Christine Hurtsellers, CEO of Voya Financial’s investment management unit during an earnings call. But she added that factors driving the big price swings can “still tend to be somewhat opaque at times.” That’s the reason why Voya (VOYA)
won’t invest for now.
Taking the crypto plunge
Other companies are willing to embrace the risk.
So far, Tesla (TSLA)
and software company MicroStrategy (MSTR)
are the two most prominent firms to buy bitcoin. Payments giants Square (SQ)
and PayPal (PYPL)
now let customers buy and sell bitcoin (XBT)
and use the cryptocurrency for e-commerce transactions. MasterCard (MA)
and Bank of New York Mellon (BK)
are dipping their toes in the digital currency waters too.
, which like Square is run by Jack Dorsey, is also looking more at bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
“We have done a lot of the upfront thinking to consider how we might pay employees should they ask to be paid in bitcoin, how we might pay a vendor if they asked to be paid in bitcoin and whether we need to have bitcoin on our balance sheet,” said Twitter CFO Ned Segal in an interview with CNBC
after the company reported earnings last week.
CEO Al Kelly also noted during his company’s most recent earnings call that “there’s a growing interest in digital currencies.”
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