Microsoft will use bitcoin payment processor BitPay to allow customers to add bitcoins, at current market value, to their Microsoft account. “Those funds can then be used to purchase content in the Windows Store, or in stores that house Xbox Games, Xbox Music or Xbox Video.”
In the US, bitcoins now appear as an option for those wishing to add money to their Microsoft accounts. “If you want to transfer your bitcoins, you first need to select the amount of money to add to your Microsoft account. BitPay calculates the equivalent amount in bitcoin and delivers that information, along with a BitPay Bitcoin address and payment instructions. You then pay the displayed amount of bitcoin from your bitcoin wallet to complete the transaction.”
BitPay is used by over 50,000 businesses, including Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Confidence in the electronic coinage has rebounded since a number of well publicised thefts and collapses of bitcoin exchanges, most notably the closure and bankruptcy of the Japanese Mt Gox bitcoin house. Now Microsoft’s endorsement means its rehabilitation is complete.
“For us, this is about giving people options and helping them do more on their devices and in the cloud,” says Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft. “The use of digital currencies such as bitcoin, while not yet mainstream, is growing beyond the early enthusiasts. We expect this growth to continue and allowing people to use bitcoin to purchase our products and services now allows us to be at the front edge of that trend.”
While bitcoins can be used to put funds into Microsoft accounts, they can’t be used to pay directly for other Microsoft products and services. There is a cap of US$1,000 a day, and a maximum of US$5,000 in each Microsoft account.
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