January 9, 2018
Despite the enormous surge in its value, bitcoin’s volatility may be holding it back as an online payment method. After about two years of trading between $200 and $700, bitcoin began a run this year that topped out at around $20,000, collapsed back to $12,000 and climbed back a bit this week to around $17,000. As many observers have noted, if merchants cannot count on the value of a currency being somewhat stable, it becomes less attractive to accept as payment. Microsoft seemingly agrees.
According to published reports, the Seattle-based tech giant no longer allows users to add value to their Microsoft accounts using bitcoin. The move was confirmed by Microsoft customer support, but characterized as temporary by the company. And, there is precedent for that. Microsoft temporarily halted and resumed acceptance of the digital currency in 2016.
While the blockchain technology that underlies and enables bitcoin has been adopted for many applications, the initial excitement around the digital currency as a less expensive way for merchants to accept online payments has waned.