Visa CEO Al Kelly (left) talks with CNBC's Jon Fortt about the future of commerce. Photo: Courtesy of the NRF

Bitcoin fell below half its peak price on Tuesday, extending a losing streak that has led business leaders to increasingly doubt its viability as a currency.

Why it matters: If business does not see bitcoin as a reliable means of exchange, there's no reason to believe it will end up in wide circulation.

The bottom line: “You don’t think about currencies as moving with that level of fluctuation," Visa CEO Al Kelly told National Retail Federation’s Big Show conference on Tuesday. “When you think about services that people would buy in advance, like airline tickets, car rentals, hotels, etc. — when would the bitcoin value be set?" If the value of a currency can fall 25% in just a few days — which it did between Sunday and Tuesday — it makes it hard for businesses or consumers to use it as money, he argued.

A Visa competitor? Kelly isn't without a horse in this race, as it was once common to predict that virtual currencies could take a bite out of Visa's business.

But retailers agree: According to a December research note by Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette, just 3 of the top 500 e-commerce websites accept bitcoin, down from 5 in 2016.

Rising transaction costs: What should most concern bitcoin boosters is that the average cost of verifying transactions of the currency — which are paid to bitcoin miners lending computing power to the bitcoin network — has risen to more than $25 per exchange,
partly a result of frequent speculation.

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!