Bitcoin may be off limits, but the coffee chain is not overlooking the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman and the face behind the brand, suggested blockchain could very well be part of the coffee retailer’s future, pointing to the possibility of a “proprietary digital currency integrated into our application.” It’s interesting because Schultz on the company’s latest earnings call suggested they weren’t developing their own cryptocurrency nor investing in any blockchain startups. But he did at that time point to the blockchain for eventually delivering a “consumer application” for cryptos. If you’re thinking Ripple’s XRP would have been ideal, consider that Ripple chief Brad Garlinghouse doesn’t consider XRP a cryptocurrency. Starbucks, which is spearheading its maiden “cashless store” in Seattle, has embraced mobile tech payments. “Over the last four-to-five years, Starbucks has created a proxy for a mobile digital payments system,” said Schultz on Fox Business, pointing to the fact that 50% of the company’s tender is paid for with people’s smartphones. Meanwhile, in China, which is a leader in mobile payments, nearly three-quarters of the business is cashless.