Microsoft surprised the world yesterday by announcing that it started accepting bitcoin for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox purchases
From Thursday in the US, users can, via bitcoin payment service provider BitPay, trade-in bitcoin and add it to their Microsoft account. Those funds may be used to purchase content in the Windows Store, or in stores that house Xbox Games, Xbox Music or Xbox Video.
Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft, commented:
For us, this is about giving people options and helping them do more on their devices and in the cloud. 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.
In users’ Microsoft accounts, bitcoin will now appear as an option for adding to money. Users select the amount of funds to add to their Microsoft account, and BitPay calculates the equivalent amount in bitcoins and delivers that information with a BitPay Bitcoin address and payment instructions.
Bitcoin holders then pay the displayed amount of bitcoins from their virtual wallets to complete the transaction.
Microsoft says that Bitcoin cannot be used to pay directly for other products and services than the content highlighted by Microsoft. There is also a cap on the amount of funds that can be exchanged per day: US$1,000 or equivalent in other physical currencies, and no more than $5,000 for additional Microsoft accounts that are registered in the same name.
A step-by-step outline on how to use bitcoins in Microsoft stores is available at commerce.microsoft.com.