• WeWork said it will hold some portion of digital assets on its balance sheet
  • Coinbase will be the first WeWork member to pay for its membership in cryptocurrency

WeWork, the global office-sharing startup backed by SoftBank will begin accepting payments in cryptocurrency. The company, which has locations in 118 cities, will also use it to pay some landlords and vendors, according to a company press release Tuesday.

Through partnerships with Coinbase and BitPay, WeWork will initially accept bitcoin, ether, USD Coin, the Paxos token and “several other” unnamed digital assets, and hold some portion of them on its balance sheet, according to the release

Coinbase, which went public last week, will be the first WeWork member to pay for its membership in cryptocurrency.

“When we think about the workplace of the future and business, we have to consider cryptocurrency a central part of that conversation,” WeWork Chairman and Softbank Group International CEO, Marcelo Claure, said in the release. “Cryptocurrency helps build a stronger global economy and WeWork’s announcement demonstrates the company’s commitment not only to innovation, but also to being a globally-focused business.”

The development comes shortly after Tesla began accepting bitcoin payments, about a month ago, and said it also plans to hold it on its balance sheet (rather than immediately converting it into fiat currency). It also comes at a time when global household names in payments including Visa, MasterCard and PayPal — as well as Venmo, as of today — seek to bring digital assets onto their networks for consumer payments.

“It’s not likely that bitcoin will be the payment mechanism of the future for most goods and services, as the investment thesis of bitcoin as a store of value or digital gold has driven the vast majority of institutional interest, rather than payments,” said John Wu, president of the DeFi company Ava Labs. “That said, for luxury or one-time, high-value purchases like cars or real estate, we’re clearly seeing more interest in accepting BTC given the potential upside of the asset.”

Shortly before the pandemic WeWork was forced to pull the plug on its planned initial public offering due to former CEO Adam Nuemann’s mismanagement. It lost $3.2 billion last year as offices around the world shut down. Earlier this month, the company announced that its IPO plans are back on, this time through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). 

Casey Wagner contributed to the reporting on this story.

  • Blockworks
    Senior Reporter
    Tanaya is a business journalist in New York covering financial services and the future of money. Previously, she was an on-air reporter and anchor at Cheddar. She has also worked at Digiday, American Banker and CoinDesk.