Microsoft has begun accepting bitcoin as a payment option for apps, games, and other digital content from select Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox platforms.
Microsoft has yet to make an official announcement about its integration with the digital currency, but it has posted a page
explaining the steps bitcoin enthusiasts need to take to use the crypto-currency to add money to their Microsoft account.
The firm says it takes less than 15 minutes for users to redeem bitcoin using their digital wallet, whether it is hosted on desktop computers, smartphone or other devices. There is a $1000 cap
The service - provided by processor Bitpay - is currently available only to US users for select Microsoft online stores and applies a daily $1000 cap on exchanges. The company clarifies that it is not possible to use bitcoin to purchase Microsoft products and services directly "at this time".
Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft, says: “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.”
Microsoft head honcho Bill Gates has spoken out in favour of bitcoin as part of his work to drive financial inclusion with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The entry of Microsoft into the bitcoin ecosystem provides yet another commercial boost for the digital currency, which has also been adopted by other tech heavyweights such as Dell, and e-commerce stores like Overstock.
Further evidence of bitcoin's transition into the financial mainstream comes from consumer finance startup Circle, which has announced appointment of Paul Camp, formerly head of JPMorgan Chase's global transaction services division, as chief financial officer.