Microsoft is now accepting Bitcoin payments for Xbox games and other digital goodies, and it's kind of a big deal.
Members of Reddit's Bitcoin community were first to notice that Microsoft had begun accepting Bitcoin. However Microsoft isn't accepting this as a direct payment method; you'll use Bitcoin to add money to your Microsoft account (so long as you're in the US), which can then be used to purchase digital goods. Device aren't included right now, unfortunately.
It's pretty significant to see such a massive industry player make this move, especially as the future of crypto-currency is still so uncertain. But the impact has already been quite significant: the value of the coin shot up by around $20 after Microsoft's quiet announcement.
Speaking to TechRadar, economic sociologist Dr Vili Lehdonvirta said: "Microsoft is the latest in a string of progressively larger firms to start engaging with Bitcoin. However, like many of the earlier adopters, my understanding is that Microsoft is not actually receiving Bitcoins itself, as it uses a partner that converts customers' Bitcoin payments into dollars. This means that Microsoft itself will not be accumulating and thus spending Bitcoins, which somewhat limits the significance of this announcement. Microsoft is not entering the Bitcoin economy as such."
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Still, the move has been met with a lot of praise from the Reddit community. "Really unexpected, Microsoft is truly changing its course since Ballmer's departure." wrote nawariata, while Describe wrote, "With more people involved it could reach crazy heights. Due to it being a little rocky out of the gate, it just needs more exposure and buyer confidence. Oh Hello, Microsoft."
Google made a positive gesture to Bitcoin last month by installing a Bitcoin ATM on its London campus, but it's yet to back it in the same capacity as Microsoft. Now it's your move, Amazon.