Hit & Run

Microsoft Embraces Bitcoins as a Payment Option


When major corporations embrace currency associated with anarchism … what happens?

You can now buy digital content for a Windows Phone with bitcoins. Nobody has or wants a Windows Phone, apparently, but fortunately you can also buy things from Microsoft you may actually want with bitcoins, too.

Microsoft is now accepting bitcoins as a payment option for "apps, games, and other digital content from Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox Games, Xbox Music, or Xbox Video stores." You can't buy physical products or services yet, you can only use bitcoins in the United States, and if you purchase something with bitcoins, they cannot be refunded. But it's a start.

Remember how earlier in the year, after prominent bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was hacked and collapsed and the value of bitcoins plunged, people declared the virtual currency dead or at least doomed? The price has continued to go down—a bitcoin is now worth about a quarter of what it used to be at the start of the year ($335 today as opposed to $1,100).  But we're seeing it accepted in more and more places.

Engaget notes that other tech consumer companies, like Dell, have embraced bitcoins as well, but Amazon is still resistant. Be sure to check out Reason's December issue for a look at the future of money.