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AMC Brings Bitcoin to Big Screen With Crypto

It’s like something out of a movie, at least in its broadest strokes. New-fangled tech comes along, is embraced by the masses and saves troubled business as people clamor to fill aisles and fill the coffers.

For AMC Entertainment Holdings, one wonders how this script will unfold, as the company gets on board with cryptocurrency payments.

Necessity is the mother of invention. And during the pandemic that seems without end, any number of firms have had to reinvent themselves – especially brick-and-mortar-focused operations that have had to go digital in a hurry. Nowhere is that more apparent than with the movie chains.

As detailed in a tweet by AMC’s Adam Aron on Wednesday (Aug. 15), the theater chain is going to begin accepting bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash and Litecoin for online ticket and concession payments by the end of the year. That tweet was addressed to “cryptocurrency enthusiasts.”

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know @AMCTheatres has announced we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. pic.twitter.com/uKcFyQotoJ

— Adam Aron (@CEOAdam) September 16, 2021

The announcement is not entirely unexpected. The decision to accept cryptos was noted on the most recent AMC earnings call last month.

Read also: Moviegoers Can Soon Pay for AMC Tickets Using Bitcoin

But the tweet this week offers some crystallization of what’s to be taken at the (digital) ticket counter and what’s not. In a world where AMC is one of those meme stocks that has soared and plummeted, it should be noted that Dogecoin – quite posssibly the ultimate meme crypto – is not among the cryptos being accepted thus far.

It’s true that a growing number of consumers want crypto woven into the fabric of their everyday financial lives, offered and used as a payments choice for everyday transactions. As detailed in recent PYMNTS research, nearly half of consumers who have had some experience with using digital currencies to pay for goods and services have done so with transactions valued at less than $100. Roughly 18% of the population would be interested in using cryptos to make a purchase.

Related news: PYMNTS BitPay Study: How Consumers Want to Use Crypto to Shop and Pay in 2021 and After

The data show there are significant numbers of people who want to make small-dollar crypto transactions, where movie tickets and concessions would ostensibly fit squarely into the picture (unless you are taking a family of four to the movies, then the pricing gets a bit astronomical).

But what hasn’t been detailed are the mechanics of it all – where, for example, a very small fraction of a bitcoin (priced at a recent $48,000 per bitcoin) or a more significant fraction of a Litecoin (recently trading for $190) would be used in a transaction. Remember that fiat tends to be the input and output at either end of the transaction, and along the way, on the exchanges, is where the crypto is owned. But the wild volatility of many of these digital offerings makes it tough to nail down a “conversion price” at a moment in time. That “snapshot” is further complicated by the transaction fees that can total several dollars for a bitcoin, which can take several minutes to an hour.

Suddenly, the idea of using cryptos at the movies seems more of a novelty than anything else, with more twists and turns than a Mission: Impossible motorcycle chase.

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