Mobile carrier AT&T will now accept payments in crypto

Cryptocurrency is taking another step towards the mainstream as mobile carrier AT&T announced it would accept payments in crypto today, according to a release from the company.

Specifically, the firm is allowing its customers to pay their mobile bills via BitPay online or in app. BitPay, one of the best-known payments companies in crypto, will process the cryptocurrency for AT&T and give them the payments in regular cash.

Though the move may seem positive for crypto users, Joe McCann, a former crypto hedge fund manager at Passport Capital, told The Block the move seemed to come out of left field and speculated that perhaps the company has internal data showing more millennials utilizing crypto payments.

"Maybe AT&T has internal data that shows more millennials using/requesting payment capabilities in crypto," McCann said in a message to The Block.

"What upside does AT&T have in supporting crypto payments?" he asked.

McCann's questions of internal data may not be off-base, as Kevin McDorman, vice president, AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations pointed to customers using cryptocurrency as a reason for the extended options.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services,” McDorman said in a statement. “We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”

Chief Commercial Officer at BitPay Sonny Singh praised AT&T for the partnership, which began when BitPay reached out a year prior.

"AT&T did a great job making this happen," he said.

Players with a similar size, brand and reach could start following suit, since the implementation by a brand as large as the cellular company could make its rivals more comfortable with the nascent cryptocurrency market, according to Singh. 

"The big companies want to learn," said Singh. "We've met with executive teams at many Fortune 500 companies to explain to them how [crypto] works and we brain storm on how we can work together."