Dish Network to accept bill payments in bitcoin

Dish Network has become the first major television service to go Bitcoin-friendly as it announced it would allow customers to pay their bills with the cryptocurrency, CNET reported.

Dish Network to accept bill payments in bitcoinWhile announcing the news on Thursday, Dish says it is the largest company till date to accept bitcoins as it got ready for customers to start settling their bills with the digital currency in the third quarter of 2014. The company added, bitcoins would not replace traditional credit or debit cards or the use of bank accounts to make payments. The currency can be used only for one-time payments.

Thanks to its growing popularity across the globe, Bitcoin had slowly marched towards legitimacy. When the currency was at its peak several months back, a single bitcoin was worth more than $1,000, while the current value of the currency works out at around $568.

Though the technology behind Bitcoin was complex, the goal was quite simple  to eliminate the chances of determining who was actually transacting the currency.

That anonymity had made the currency a bit of  a non-starter for major companies fearing that they would not be able to identify the individuals actually making payments.

According to commentators, the move of the television service had given the currency yet another legitimacy boost.

While Dish is not the first company to accept Bitcoin, it claimed to be the largest. Payments with the virtual currency had already been accepted by retailers including, Virgin America and others.

Users acquire Bitcoins by buying them from other users at online exchanges, or unlocking new coins by solving complicated mathematical equations. When the currency made its first appearance in 2009, Bitcoin offered a cheaper payment system allowing people to bypass the conventional banking industry.

Its following had, however, expanded from fringe elements to include a more mainstream audience. This had in turn attracted entrepreneurs having support of venture capital firms to start new businesses and capitalise on a growing market.

It was another big milestone, The New York Times quoted Gil Luria, an analyst with Wedbush Securities who has studied Bitcoin as saying. Luria added this was a mainstream company with mainstream leadership that had decided to embrace Bitcoin and what Bitcoin technology offered.

It did not seem like this had anything to do with the politics of Bitcoin and the ideology of Bitcoin, it had to do with the business of Bitcoin, Luria said of Dish's announcement.

However, according to commentators wider adoption had drawn increased scrutiny to Bitcoin's volatility and regulation. The price of Bitcoin had fluctuated wildly, starting from a few cents initially to more than a thousand dollars.