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The rise of cryptocurrency as an acceptable means of payment

The Dentacoin Foundation, which has launched a scheme for dental patients to be paid tokens for posting reviews about dental services, has undertaken a review of those companies that are accepting cryptocurrencies.

The Dentacoin analysis identifies eight companies that now accept Bitcoin. As an historical reference point, a white paper, written by Satoshi Nakamoto, was published in 2008 which was titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Here it was noted that the value of the first Bitcoin transactions were negotiated by individuals via ‘bitcointalk’ forums. At this time, there was one notable transaction of 10, 000 Bitcoin tokens used to indirectly purchase two pizzas.

The use of Bitcoins is beginning to accelerate; something that is likely to be attributable to improved education. There are also convenience factors, such as receiving payments within seconds; plus minimal transaction fees, which will appeal to businesses.

These factors have led to more online stores opening up to accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment from their customers. Some examples, sent to Digital Journal via Dentacoin, are: Expedia has teamed up with Coinbase to implement the world’s largest travel booking agency found online. Since mid-2014, consumers have been able to make hotel bookings using the Bitcoin payment option. Currently Expedia accepts Bitcoins for hotel bookings only; however, this is likely to extent out to flight bookings and other activities. Newegg is an online electronics retailer who accepts Bitcoin as a payment method.

eGifter: eGifter is a popular gift card mobile app, which enables users to buy gift cards for different places, such as Amazon, Sephora, Home Depot and Kohls. eGifter works with Coinbase as its Bitcoin partner. The Overstock company sells big-ticket items at lower prices, owing to overstocking. Overstock also partners up with Coinbase.

Microsoft: Microsoft users can use Bitcoin to purchase games, movies and apps in the Windows and Xbox stores.

Virgin Galactic: Since 2013, Virgin Galactic accepts purchases using Bitcoin.

Zynga: Zynga partners with BitPay for their Bitcoin payments. Players can use Bitcoins for in-app purchases.

Subway: Subway franchises in Buenos Aires have recently accept Bitcoin for payments at the restaurants for their “Eat Fresh” products.

These developments signal that the business world is opening up for cryptocurrency. These are either with direct consumer access or with custom cryptocurrencies, which serve like means of payment between parties. Dentacoin, the source of the survey, has begun to become accepted as means of payment by dental clinics in Europe. The Dentacoin model was discussed in a Digital Journal article titled “Paying dentists with cryptocurrency is happening.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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