AMC, currently the largest movie theater chain in the world, will begin accepting Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency as payment for movie screenings and concessions.
The company’s CEO, Adam Aron, announced the groundbreaking news on Wednesday by tweeting “Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know @AMCTheatres has announced we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.”
The announcement follows an earlier statement from August where the company said it planned on accepting bitcoin for online payment by the end of the year. It appears to have sped up and expanded its previously stated plan.
AMC’s announcement via Aron may be seen as a nod to the online investing community, which has taken a passionate interest in AMC’s stock in the same vein as the GameStop phenomenon of January 2021.
These traders are playing what is commonly referred to as “meme stocks,” or retail stocks that are selected by traders for investment after hedge funds and other institutional investors have bet against them.
The “meme stock” trader’s interest in AMC has shot its share value up 2,100 percent, going from $5 to $59 over the course of the past year. AMC now sits at $46 a share.
AMC accepting cryptocurrency payment may be a nod to online trading community
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, especially “meme” coins like Dogecoin that are centered around novelty and internet culture, are seen as adjacent and overlapping with the “meme stock” community. And although AMC and Aron’s gesture towards crypto is certainly groundbreaking to an extent, many financial analysts believe that cryptocurrency will not become popular for day-to-day usage:
“People are not buying Bitcoin to spend them,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank to Reuters. “For me, it’s still not a nicely established currency in the sense that it’s more of an investment for the future or for something that we may want to have in the future.”
Ozkardeskaya’s logic aligns closely with writer Doug Henwood’s recent video with the Gravel Institute (seen below) on the topic of Bitcoin and Ponzi schemes. Henwood argues that bitcoin will primarily be held as a speculative investment and not a currency in order to profit off of coin’s rise in value.
Financial experts are frequently divided on the meaning and future of bitcoin and cryptocurrency at large.
While many argue that bitcoin offers innovative methods of anonymous, de-centralized transactions, some, like Henwood and former President Donald Trump, believe that this aspect of bitcoin is only advantageous when it is used as a currency, and it has now moved into a place where it is almost entirely a speculative investment that people wish to profit from.