It didn’t take Microsoft all that long to fully reinstate its Bitcoin payment option. A few days ago, the company announced it no longer considered BTC to be an active payment instrument. Customers could still fund their accounts with Bitcoin, but that was the only option available to them. In a new turn of events, the company has restored full Bitcoin payment functionality. This was thanks to some help from BitPay, the company processing BTC payments on behalf of the technology giant.
MICROSOFT EMBRACES BITCOIN ONCE AGAIN
Earlier this week, we reported on how Microsoft had suddenly halted most of its Bitcoin payment functionality. Given the currency’s slow confirmation times and high network fees, that decision was not entirely unexpected. Bitcoin is not in the best of places right now, as it is marred by technical issues which are very difficult to overcome. Until the scaling problem can finally be resolved, it’s highly unlikely Bitcoin will become cheaper or faster to use. For a store-of-value, it seems to check a lot of the right boxes, even though the Bitcoin price has been anything but stable in the past few weeks.
As a result, Microsoft had decided to halt most of its Bitcoin payment options. Customers in the US were only able to pre-fund their Microsoft Store accounts with Bitcoin, which was still more than sufficient for most people. However, it seems Microsoft faced some backlash over this decision. Rather than dropping the Bitcoin option altogether, the company actively sought a solution to this ongoing problem. It is definitely leading by example in this regard, as plenty of other companies would rather drop Bitcoin altogether.
In the case of Microsoft, the company was concerned about how lower amounts paid in Bitcoin would affect its business. Given the high Bitcoin network fees right now, many payment amounts are lower than the associated fees. As a result, it makes very little sense for both consumers and retailers to deal with Bitcoin. It is an uneasy situation which has been present for quite some time now, but there is no short-term solution in sight whatsoever.
It is evident Microsoft still believes in a bright future for Bitcoin payments, but it is not turning a blind eye to the ongoing problems either. No one can argue Bitcoin has a lot of issues to sort out, but doing so is much easier said than done. As these problems linger, competing cryptocurrencies with faster transactions and cheaper fees are taking center stage.
Nevertheless, full Bitcoin payment functionality has been restored to Microsoft’s website. It is unclear if this payment option has ever been popular, even though the technology giant initially began supporting it in 2013. A company wouldn’t stick with Bitcoin for nearly five years if it wasn’t worth their while. For now, it is anybody’s guess as to how things will evolve in the future.
The bigger question is how other retailers will respond to Bitcoin in the midst of the issues which have held back its mainstream adoption. The general public’s interest in Bitcoin was always rather lacking even before these problems emerged. Fighting an uphill battle is nothing new in the world of cryptocurrency, but it seems the climb only gets steeper every year.
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