Is Amazon gearing up to enter the cryptocurrency game?

Ecommerce giant Amazon AMZN 2.356,95 -52,05 -2,16% has registered three cryptocurrency-related domain names, which may suggest that the company could be preparing to jump in the cryptocurrency game.

The company registered the domains amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com and amazoncryptocurrencies.com on October 31.

The news was first reported by Domain Name Wire, a publication specializing in the domain name industry and news related to WordPress and hosting services.

Data from Whois services, a database of details on registered domain names and their owners, shows that the above domains were registered by Amazon’s subsidiary Amazon Technologies, Inc. The subsidiary manages many Amazon patents and trademarks.

Credit: Icann.org

The move was interpreted by many that Amazon may be now readying to start accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, or may be considering developing its own currency.

For quite some time now, there have been speculations that Amazon may start accepting bitcoin. However, the company has not made any announcement to that effect.

Some have argued that Amazon may have registered the domains for brand protection purposes, preventing others form using them. The US legislation strictly prohibits the so called “cybersquatting” or “domain squatting”. As defined by the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, this is the practice of “registering, trafficking in, or using an Internet domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else”. While US federal law is explicit, regulations elsewhere may not necessarily be as strict.

Yet, judging by other crypto-related domains owned by Amazon, registering a given domain may not mean any specific actions any time soon. Amazon registered amazonbitcoin.com back in 2013 but four years later, it simply redirects to amazon.com. Right now, the newly-registered domains go to a blank page.

Meanwhile, bitcoin’s price has continued to surge for another week, reaching a new-all-time high of $7,400. The rise could be partly attributed to an expected Bitcoin split, a so called ”hard fork”, later in November, which will result in a new currency being created in addition to the current one. If it goes as planned, bitcoin holders may receive automatically an equal amount of the new currency.

At the time of publication, the company has not responded to FTI’s email inquiry about the new domains.