AMC Entertainment To Accept Bitcoin as Payment by Year End

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, CNBC Television

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:  AMC) announced Monday it will soon have the technology in place to enable customers to buy movie tickets or concessions online using bitcoin. 

During the company's second quarter earnings call, AMC’s chief executive officer Adam Aron said the chain will also offer support for Google Pay and Apple Pay at its theaters by the end of 2021.

He also told investors that the company was also “exploring how else AMC can participate in this new burgeoning cryptocurrency universe, and we’re quite intrigued by potentially lucrative business [opportunities].”

Aron cited his work on the board of Centricus Acquisition Corp — which is in the process of buying a blockchain technology startup — in helping him learn more about digital coin and decide whether or not to make it a payment option for theater-goers. 

CNBC noted that the move brings together two highly speculative assets — bitcoin, which is known for its wild volatility, and AMC, which was one of the so-called “meme stocks” favored by retail traders on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum. 

A growing number of companies, including PayPal Holdings and Square Inc, have begun to take digital currency as a form of payment, bringing the asset closer to the mainstream.

Visa Inc, Mastercard Inc, Bank of New York Mellon Corp and BlackRock Inc have also started accepting cryptocurrency for certain payments. 

Tesla Inc announced plans in March to accept bitcoin as a payment method for its cars, but halted purchases with the digital token in mid-May amid concerns over how mining contributes to climate change. 

Tesla chief Elon Musk has said the EV maker would hold the bitcoin it owns to use “as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy” and will look into other cryptocurrencies that require less energy for transactions.

AMC’s announcement this week comes as the nation’s largest theater chain continues to welcome back guests after extended shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of the end of June, all of AMC’s 593 US theaters were open to the public and 335 of its international locations, about 95%, were operational. 

Audiences are returning but have not yet rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, AMC said. During the second quarter, AMC welcomed 22 million guests in its theaters, up from 7 million the prior quarter but far below the 97 million tickets sold during the second quarter of 2019.

For the second quarter of 2021, AMC posted a net loss of $344 million, or 71 cents per share, compared to a loss of $561.2 million, or $5.38 per share, a year ago. The chain reported revenue of $444.7 million, above the $382.1 million forecasted by analysts.

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“We are not taking a victory lap … We are still losing money; we are still burning cash,” Aron said. “But we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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Source: Equities News

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