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Bitcoin, it’s the future of online payment don’t you know.
After the initial rush of media intrigue and early adopter excitement, what happened next for the digital currency from the future?
How widespread has the uptake for bitcoin been for online (or even offline) retail?
In a major boon for the currency, US electronics company Newegg has just announced it’s to start accepting bitcoin on its ecommerce site.
If you’re new to the company, Newegg is a North American retailer of computer hardware and other electronic goods. It currently has 25m registered users. If you’re new to bitcoin, it’s a currency, not a platform as such like PayPal for instance, so an API is needed to actually carry out the transactions. In this particular instance, BitPay is the payment platform of choice.
At the moment, the bitcoin option hasn’t appeared on Newegg’s order screen as of yet, however here’s a brief walk-through on how it works.
But what about the biggest player in the western ecommerce world?
According to an April interview in Re/code with Amazon payments head Tom Taylor, Amazon has quashed any idea that it would be accepting bitcoin as a method payment.
Taylor has stated “we’re not hearing from customers that it’s right for them and don’t have any plans within Amazon to engage bitcoin”. Although this may also be related to the fact that Amazon already has its own payment platform and virtual currency in the works.
Who actually does accept bitcoins?
A delve into the internet has brought up a few big players and a few surprises.
Reports reveal that travel site Expedia has begun accepting bitcoin for hotel bookings only, as a trial run. Publishing platform WordPress is also accepting bitcoin in its store. UK takeaway company Takeaway.com accepts bit coin on behalf of its 7,500 restaurants.
If you ever find yourself in Cambridge on a bright sunny afternoon, there are a couple of cracking real-ale pubs that accept the currency. The Devonshire Arms and The Haymakers also accept the virtual currency.
How many bitcoins do you have in your pocket right now?
There’s a study by BitScan from February on how many people really own bitcoins. If you’ve been following the bitcoin news intently you may be surprised at the findings.
As of February 2014, only around 31m transactions have taken place in bitcoin’s history. Through some fairly complicated logic (perhaps read the linked article for the workings which takes into account founder Satoshi Nakamoto’s own personal bitcoin fortune) it’s been assessed that an absolute maximum of around 500,000 own bitcoins at the time.
In this case you can see another reason why Amazon may be playing it safe. It’s not just areas of trust and stability that are driving concerns but also the fact that not enough people even own or use the currency.