Yet another step towards mass acceptance of the digital currency, Dell announced this week that the company will be accepting Bitcoin for purchases of consumer goods. Originally announced by CEO Michael Dell on his personal Twitter account, Dell will be partnering with third-party payment processor Coinbase to convert the digital currency into U.S. dollars.
Based on previous deals with Coinbase and other online companies, it’s likely that Dell will start paying the company a one percent processing fee after the first one million in sales that are processed using Bitcoin. Speaking about the new option for consumers, Dell spokesman David Fink said “We put this together quickly as a result of listening to our customers. It’s another way for customers to have a relationship with Dell.”
— Michael Dell (@MichaelDell) July 18, 2014
Of course, Dell isn’t the first online company to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Earlier this month, popular computer parts company Newegg started accepting the currency and put together specific builds to help consumers mine the virtual currency. In addition, Newegg took the promotion a step further by offering an additional 10 percent discount on all orders that use Bitcoin for processing for a limited time. It’s likely that companies like Newegg could offer more Bitcoin discounts since the conversion rate of the currency is so volatile and has the potential to increase over time.
Prior to Newegg, companies like Dish Network, Expedia and Overstock.com also started accepting Bitcoin as payment. Of course, just a small portion of consumers are actually using the virtual currency as payment. While Overstock.com saw early success with sales paid for with Bitcoin, the most recent company filing indicates that less than 1 percent of all sales are being paid for with Bitcion.
Interestingly, Google just added Bitcoin to the currency conversion search tool this week. For instance, if you search for the phrase ‘1.5 BTC to USD,’ the value of 1.5 Bitcoin in U.S. dollars would appear at the top of the screen. Using this tool, it’s much easier to track the price fluctuations of the currency.
Similar to Dell, Google is partnering with Coinbase to get this data. It also works with the voice search function in case you simply just want to ask Google “What is the price of Bitcoin?” Microsoft added a similar tool to Bing during early 2014 and Yahoo added a Bitcoin value tracker to the finance section of the site during June 2014.
Also occurring this week, New York took first steps towards regulating Bitcoin. Proposed by the New York’s Department of Financial Services, the regulations require companies to apply for a BitLicense to buy, sell, exchange, store or transfer Bitcoins between the company and third parties. The proposal will be up for public comments starting on July 23 and will stay open for the following 45 days. Assuming the proposal is acceptable to the public, the regulations will still have to be approved before the agency can enforce the new licensing procedure.