Plummeting downward by approximately 56 percent over the last 12 months, Bitcoin was recently crowned as the worst performing currency of 2014 according to Bloomberg. During early December 2013, the digital cryptocurrency was trading around $1140 and started falling to around the $850 range during early January 2014. As of this month, Bitcoin is being traded at the $320 level. However, this value is still higher than the value of the cryptocurrency prior to November 2013. Other poorly performing currencies of 2014 include the Ukraine’s hryvnia and Russia’s ruble.
While the falling value of the cryptocurrency doesn’t have the buying power it did several months ago, that hasn’t stopped retailers from adding Bitcoin as an acceptable form of legal payment. Earlier this month, Time Inc. started accepting Bitcoin payments for subscriptions to publications that include Fortune, Health, This Old House and Travel and Leisure. However, the company is holding off on expanding that option to publications such as People and Sports Illustrated.
In addition to Time Inc., Microsoft also recently started accepting Bitcoin as transfers to dollars within a Microsoft account. Capping the total transfer level to $5,000, money in a Microsoft account can be used on purchases within the Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox platforms. Interestingly, the transfers will only go one way. Anyone that transfers Bitcoin into a Microsoft account will not be eligible for a refund.
Speaking about the shift in policy on Microsoft’s The Fire Hose blog, Microsoft Universal Store VP Eric Lockard said “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.”