UPS Might Be Making a Locker That Accepts Bitcoin

Global shipping giant UPS may be looking at accepting bitcoin through an item-exchange locker service, newly published patent filings show.

UPS is eyeing a system of locker banks that can take digital forms of payment, according to an application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday. In addition to traditional payment systems, the patent filing lists bitcoin as a possible currency to pay with.

The filing outlines a system of lockers where a party trading or selling an item can leave it in the locker for a buyer to pick up at their convenience. Some of these lockers may be configured to accept payments if the parties are renting the locker.

The filing outlines different methods by renters can pay for the locker, specifically stating:

“In example embodiments, the locker bank may include a point-of-sale (POS) system for accepting payment from users in the form of: (1) a cash transaction; (2) a credit or debit card transaction; (3) a gift certificate; (4) an electronic payment, such as payment by Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Bitcoin; and/or (5) any other suitable type of payment.”

The patent application mentions bitcoin again later, as a way to refund customers, among more traditional payment methods like credit.

The filing is the latest example of a patent application that lists bitcoin as a possible payment method. While this isn't indicative that companies are moving en-masse to accept the cryptocurrency, its inclusion as an option highlights its profile as a digitized medium of exchange.

In 2017, more than 20 patent filings released by the USPTO mentioned bitcoin as a possible payment system. While the number dropped slightly from 2016, more than 50 patent filings released by the agency in the last two years reflect this line of thinking.

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