“If you are a person who uses Bitcoin you know it’s not always easy to find places where you can use the digital currency,” begins a new announcement on the Microsoft website. The options just became a fraction more varied as Microsoft announced it now accepts Bitcoin as payment for some of its products.
This includes Windows Phone, Windows Store, and all things XBox — Xbox Games, XBox Music and XBox Video.
Since Bitcoin’s introduction, the virtual currency has fluctuated between worthless and obscenely valuable, depending on the wind. This may be why a lot of merchants have been reluctant to accept it. But Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft, explains their decision this way: “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 other words, Microsoft has much faith in Bitcoin. Even still, they’ve placed limits on what you can do with it. There is a limit of $1000 per day (in value of US dollars) that can be purchased in Bitcoin, and not every Windows product is exchangeable for Bit-bucks.
If anything is harder than finding places to spend Bitcoin, it’s obtaining Bitcoin in the first place. The virtual currency is maintained at a limited amount and must be generated by dedicated hardware, meaning a high-end computer focused specifically on running the Bitcoin algorithm. Or you could sell something for Bitcoin and get some that way, but you must specifically deal with Bitpay, the leading online middleman for the currency.