Microsoft suddenly entered the group of Bitcoin-friendly businesses without even announcing the decision. The company is now allowing United States-based Xbox and Windows users to top up their accounts using Bitcoin.
The new payment option was only made public when a user noticed the Bitcoin feature and posted the good news on Reddit. The option was later confirmed by an online help page titled “How do I use Bitcoin with my Microsoft account?”, which is available on Microsoft’s commerce site.
“You can now use Bitcoin to add money to your Microsoft account. Once you add money to your Microsoft account, you can use it as a payment option to buy apps, games, and other digital content from Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox Games, Xbox Music, or Xbox Video stores”, reads the webpage.
However, the users must be aware that they can only use Bitcoin to add money to their Microsoft accounts and then purchase digital goods at Microsoft’s online stores. According to the company, consumers “can’t use Bitcoin to purchase Microsoft products and services directly at this time”.
Also, any amount of digital currency added to a Microsoft account cannot be refunded, “so make sure to review your transaction before paying with your digital wallet”.
The decision to accept BTC follows the previous implementation of a Bitcoin converter to Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, and makes the American company one of the largest cryptocurrency-friendly businesses in the world, according to the site Digital Trends.
The news obviously caused excitment in the Bitcoin community. The digital coin sub-Reddit has been flooded with posts and comments about Microsoft’s decision. A Redditor with the username ‘hiver’ bought a game using the company’s new payment option and described the process.
So I used the Microsoft implementation last night. I bought a game that totaled $64.37.
There’s no option to pay with bitcoin on my Xbox at this point. I’d really like to have a QR code (and the option to email the address) appear on my TV. Maybe in the future.
So I went to the website. I can only purchase in pre-specified amounts. $75 was the nearest. I could have done a $15 and a $50 transaction, which is not super convenient. Even if I went with that option, Microsoft would have $.67 of mine that would have to be applied to a future purchase, if I remember. That’s about a 1% fee or a 1% loan, if we’re being generous.
The game and service were fine from there. While it’s cool that Microsoft has come on board, they have a long way to go before they start doing it correctly.
Nevertheless, Oxford economic sociologist Dr.Vili Lehdonvirta, told TechRadar that the announcement’s impact on the currency and its price should not be overestimated.
Lehdonvirta said that “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”.
Coincidence or not, the price of Bitcoin slightly increased over the past few hours. After plunging for four consecutive days between the 7th and 11th December, the value showed some signs of recovery during this Friday (12th).
Featured image source: Wikimedia