Coin For Coffee Seeks Simple Way To Buy a Cup of Joe

AccessTimeIconApr 12, 2014 at 2:08 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:39 a.m. UTC

Ever wanted to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee with your bitcoins? With Coin For Coffee, now you can.

As its co-founder and CEO Matt Luongo explained to CoinDesk, Card For Coin leverages Starbucks' existing gift card infrastructure to process payments using digital currency.

He put it simply:

"We want people to be able to spend their bitcoins wherever they want."

How it works

Coin For Coffee sports a simple interface. Users choose how much they want to upload (ranging from $5 to $50).

After confirming a user's email address, the system produces a bitcoin address in which to deposit the amount. Users send the amount they want to spend, and Coin For Coffee produces a barcode.

The barcode is then scanned at the Starbucks register as if it's a gift card. Once the transaction is complete, any remaining bitcoins are returned to the owner after roughly 30 minutes.

Origins of the project

The team behind Coin For Coffee is the same that developed Card For Coin, an online solution for exchanging the value of Starbucks gift cards for bitcoins.

That project has since been delayed pending regulatory approval. The team has no official relationship with Starbucks.

When asked about the differences between the two projects, Luongo framed them as two sides of the same coin.

"So far the reception has been just as positive. I think one of the differences is that we're asking people to do more. It's a different group of people being excited."

Looking ahead, Luongo sees a future in the project and hopes that Coin For Coffee will be able to tap coffee retailers beyond Starbucks.

The team is also developing a dedicated mobile app. User interest, according to Luongo, has been positive. He said that more people have expressed enthusiasm for Coin For Coffee compared to Card For Coin.

Ways for consumers to spend bitcoins grow

Loadable spending tools, either browser-based or card-based, are becoming increasingly prevalent world wide.

, a digital currency exchange based in Brazil, is preparing to release Coincard, a bitcoin-friendly payment card branded by MasterCard.

, a Hong Kong-based startup, recently launched a bitcoin debit card that reportedly works at the vast majority of ATMs in the United States.

Last month, Gyft announced that it has added Wal-Mart to its growing list of retailers within its bitcoin giftcard merchant network.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.