Microsoft has made a surprise move to allow bitcoin as a payment option for digital content on its Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox platforms.
Customers in the US can now use bitcoin to add money to top up their Microsoft accounts, but cannot yet use bitcoin to purchase content directly. But Microsoft’s acceptance of bitcoin adds another major tech player to the bitcoin ecosystem, resulting from an integration with bitcoin processor BitPay. It may be that bitcoin will play a larger role in Microsoft payments at a later date.
Neither Microsoft nor BitPay have made a formal announcement – the information on the bitcoin integration comes directly from the tech company’s payments information page.
Microsoft points out the irreversibility of bitcoin transactions in the new notice, going on to say that customers who add funds to their accounts in bitcoin will not be eligible for refunds after transactions are conducted. Customers who believe they have sent an erroneous transaction, however, are encouraged to reach out to the company.
This latest move by Microsoft follows a progression of events that suggested the company would start allowing bitcoin payments. A February update to its Bing search engine allowed users to generate bitcoin price conversions.
Co-founder and technology adviser Bill Gates commented at the time that his non-profit organisation, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, was interested in digital payments technology. In October, Gates added during a Bloomberg Street Smart segment that bitcoin was an “exciting”, if problematic, solution to problems in the financial system.
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