AMC Theaters has been in the news all year, ever since the infamous short squeeze that occurred in January and led to increased scrutiny over the activities of hedge funds on Wall Street.
With the company achieving almost cult-like status, it has finally fulfilled its promise to integrate cryptocurrencies into its operations.
Pay for Movie Tickets With Your Coins
This month, AMC Theaters chief executive Adam Aron confirmed that the company would now support payments through cryptocurrencies. According to a tweet from Aron, AMC’s customers would now be able to make online payments using Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.
The options join a host of new payment channels coming to AMC’s customers, including PayPal, Apple Pay, and more.
Hyping up the company’s new payment direction, Aron pointed out that the new channels already account for about 14 percent of AMC’s online transactions. But, it is unclear whether he was addressing cryptocurrencies or the other new payment options.
Aron has been flirting with the idea of accepting cryptocurrency payments for a while now. In September, he conducted a poll of over 140,000 people on Twitter, asking whether the company should accept Dogecoin for online payments. Ultimately, voters overwhelmingly supported the idea.
Meme Coin Support Coming Soon
While support for Dogecoin isn’t available yet, Aron confirmed that AMC will be adding it next. Dogecoin might be popular among crypto enthusiasts, but the asset itself isn’t a perfect payment option. Elon Musk explained in September as well that a lot will need to happen for the currency to be better for payments, with developers having to figure out how to increase transaction speeds while keeping costs low.
Besides Dogecoin, Aron has also said that AMC will support payments in Shiba Inu within the next 2 to 4 months. In a separate tweet, the CEO explained that BitPay - one of the biggest crypto payment processors - had added support for Shiba Inu because he specifically asked for it. Once the support is complete, AMC customers can pay for their tickets online with the coin.
It is worth noting that the crypto payment options will only be available for online payments. It would appear that AMC still doesn't have the infrastructure needed to bring cryptocurrencies to in-person transactions. Regardless, a win is a win for the industry.
Now that crypto payments have come to AMC, the company appears to have gone full circle. It has worked hard to appease its ever-increasing base of crypto enthusiasts, integrating digital assets one small step after the other.
Before crypto came into movie tickets, AMC had already supported them for purchases of online gift cards. Early in October, Aron confirmed that AMC’s customers would be able to buy digital gift cards with Bitcoin and a few other coins. The purchases are available through the AMC’s mobile app, website, and even in theaters. With BitPay support, customers would be able to buy gift cards up to $200 with cryptocurrencies.
Uneven Regulations Could Stifle Progress
Looking forward, however, AMC still has some big crypto plans. That same month, Aron told CNBC in an interview that AMC might consider launching its own cryptocurrency in the future. As Aron explained, the company has become very “hyperactive” about cryptocurrencies, and there have been discussions about how a dedicated cryptocurrency could work.
“There are a lot of reasons why AMC could be a successful issuer of cryptocurrency as well as a redeemer of cryptocurrency,” he said, adding that the company is currently working on about six ideas to use cryptocurrencies.
However, launching its own coin might not go as smoothly for AMC as they think. Many companies have tried to go the crypto way by issuing their dedicated coins, but it hasn’t worked so well. The lack of a uniform regulatory policy for cryptocurrencies has made it almost impossible for companies to issue their coins conveniently.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also been hot on the heels of any company that issues a cryptocurrency. Telegram - the popular messaging app - got a taste of this the hard way after it was forced to abandon plans for its coin, called the GRAM token, in 2020. Even after raising billions of dollars for development and sharing progress details, Telegram’s crypto plans were halted just a week before its coin was billed to launch.
There are several other companies whose crypto plans have been foiled by the SEC. If AMC does decide to launch its coin, it won’t be able to do so without playing by the regulator’s rules. And considering how the SEC sees cryptocurrencies at the moment, it’s difficult to see AMC getting the full benefits of launching a cryptocurrency as they hope.