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The curious case of Amazon and cryptocurrencies

Domain Name Wire reported that Amazon registered three new domain names related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies – “amazonethereum.com”, “amazoncryptocurrency.com” and “amazoncryptocurrencies.com” – on October 31. This is in addition to “amazonbitcoin.com,” which it registered back in 2013.

Nobody knows why, and Amazon isn’t talking.

It’s possible that Amazon’s only intention is to prevent someone else from riding on its name in this rapidly evolving space. As Andrew Allemann of DomainNameWire.com said, “I caution that Amazon is overzealous when it comes to defensive domain name registrations. I believe that some of the registrations are done at arms-length by a brand protection agency.” Others have suggested that it has something to do with Amazon mining cryptocurrencies in its cloud.

Could be. It could also be that the ecommerce behemoth is laying the foundation for accepting Bitcoin and/or Ethereum. We all know the marriage of ecommerce and cryptocurrencies is a natural one. It makes all the sense in the world, and if smaller ecommerce companies and other businesses all over the world are accepting them, why wouldn’t Amazon at least test the waters?

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have had wild rides this year, making astonishing gains. Factors such as the potential for blockchain technology and general geopolitical craziness have created the perfect storm for the rise of cryptocurrencies. They have also gotten a boost from mainstream institutions. The recent announcement from the CME Group (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) that it will begin carrying bitcoin futures by the end of the year opened the doors to institutional investors. Early this year Japan passed a law making Bitcoin legal tender.

Patrick Gauthier, Vice President of Amazon Pay, told CNBC that his company has no intention of accepting bitcoin anytime soon. That was earlier in October. But things happen fast in cryptocurrency land, and a lot can change in a few weeks. Like skyrocketing popularity and the aforementioned validation from certain venerated institutions. The entrance of institutional investors on the scene dials back the volatility, so a whole new concept of currency doesn’t seem so strange anymore.

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