Microsoft begins accepting bitcoins

Microsoft will now accept Bitcoin payments for digital content such as games, videos, music and applications on Windows Phone and Xbox

Microsoft will now accept bitcoin payments for digital content such as games, videos, music and applications on Windows Phone and Xbox.

Microsoft posted a “how to” guide on its e-commerce website, directing customers how to pay for products using digital wallets.

Bitcoins can be paid into a Microsoft account from a digital wallet on a smartphone or PC. Microsoft said the process takes 15 minutes.

The service is currently only available in the US, and bitcoins added to a Microsoft account cannot be refunded.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been quoted as saying the bitcoin is exciting because it is “cheap”.

In 2012 the Microsoft Research blog proposed changes to the bitcoin transaction protocol to encourage “information propagation”, to prevent the creation of currency clones and fraud.  

All bitcoin transactions are documented on the bitcoin blockchain, an open ledger documenting the addresses of the payer's and payee's digital wallets.

Microsoft is not the only high-profile company to adopt this payments method – recruitment site Reed.co.uk recently told Computer Weekly bitcoin transaction processes were worth investing in.

According to Mark Ridley, Reed.co.uk’s CIO, the bitcoin market is gradually stabilising and gaining traction for legitimate use. He said it is important to support and adopt these innovative trends while they are still in their early stages to push forward innovation.

“It’s actually becoming something that’s not quite so scary, so what we actually wanted to do was give that community another voice of support,” he said.

However some have voiced concerns about the digital currency, including the increased popularity of malware developers targeting systems for the purpose of bitcoin mining.

Regulation of currencies such as bitcoin are difficult, due to the lack of a third party, making it more difficult to prevent fraud and money laundering.

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