Microsoft Once Again Accepting Bitcoin Transactions

After its decision to stop accepting bitcoin for some transactions last week, Microsoft has reversed the decision, stating that it had ensured lower amounts of bitcoin are usable. This is apparently due to some sort of agreement between Microsoft and BitPay. Though the nature of the agreement is unknown.  The reason for the original decision was the high volatility and transaction fees on the bitcoin network. So one could infer that whatever the agreement is, it solves those issues somehow.

Microsoft’s decision good news for Steam?

In an earlier blog post, BitPay stated that Microsoft was using it to manage its bitcoin transactions. Bitpay is the same provider that Valve’s Steam used before it ceased its bitcoin transactions last year. Does this mean that Steam will be able to reach a similar agreement with BitPay and reinstate its own bitcoin-based transactions? Is the agreement not available to other BitPay customers? If it is the latter, what exactly is the agreement? Is it that Microsoft’s transactions are worth enough to BitPay that it is willing to lower its profit margin?

Fallout from the rapid-fire stance changes

The bitcoin community seems rather unsure of its opinion of Microsoft over its quick changes in stance towards bitcoin. With some users stating that this move was a power play and others thankful for the decision’s reversal.

Featured image from Wikipedia

Microsoft Might Still Accept Bitcoin Even Though They Consider it Unstable

Microsoft has temporarily removed the ability to directly buy products from its store with bitcoin. However, the ability to credit an account with bitcoin is still active (for some, though it could be a sign of the rollout of removing Bitcoin payment options). The decision is reportedly due to the extremely large fluctuations bitcoin has experienced recently and the ever-increasing transaction costs. It is unclear whether or not this is an indication that Microsoft intends to suspend all bitcoin transactions in the future. Notably, by accepting Bitcoin for deposits, they don’t have to deal with the volatility in the Bitcoin price. If users feel the fees are too high, they just won’t top up their accounts with BTC during that time. Back in 2016, a similar scare occurred where Microsoft temporarily removed Bitcoin as a payment option. They denied doing so after – no such denial has been forthcoming this time.

Bitcoin dropped from $20, 000 to $14,000 in a matter of days. Image from coinmarketcap

Microsoft is not the first company to suspend bitcoin-based purchases

Steam took similar actions in December last year by removing the ability to purchase games with bitcoin, stating it was due to “High fees and volatility” referencing a 25% drop in price over a few days, and fees jumping from $0.20 to $20 a transaction.  Though it is unclear whether or not the high fee motivation included the large fee bitpay included on transactions.

Potential Solutions

There are a few solutions to this; Such as selecting a different currency to transact with, such as Bitcoin Cash or Ripple. As services such as shapeshift.io and changelly exist, this should not inconvenience those holding bitcoin or other altcoins, as the services allow for instant conversion from one coin to another (at a higher fee than some exchanges, unfortunately). Another possible solution is to continue to accept bitcoin no matter the fee and to convert it to fiat as quickly as possible to avoid too much network fluctuation. Though this does not protect customers from high transaction fees.

Featured image from Wikipedia

Early Bitcoin Investor Establishes $86 Million ‘Pineapple Fund’ to Donate Bitcoins to Charities

pineapple fund

An early bitcoin investor has established an $86 million philanthropy project — dubbed the Pineapple Fund — that will donate bitcoins to charities and causes across the globe.

Announced on Wednesday, the Pineapple Fund has committed to donating 5,057 BTC, worth approximately $86 million at the time the fund was established, to worthy non-profit organizations, including some suggested by the Bitcoin community on Reddit.

Pineapple Fund
Source: Pineapple Fund

The fund’s anonymous creator stated that he or she acquired a large number of bitcoins when the cryptocurrency was still in its infancy, and that wealth has risen so large that he or she could never hope to spend it all. Rather than HODL to the grave, he or she committed to using this newfound wealth to make a difference.

“Sometime around the early days of bitcoin, I saw the promise of decentralized money and decided to mine/buy/trade some magical internet tokens. The expectation shattering returns of bitcoin over many years has lead to an amount far more than I can spend,” the fund organizer said. “What do you do when you have more money than you can ever possibly spend? Donating most of it to charity is what I’m doing.”

As of the time of writing, the Pineapple Fund had made four donations, totaling $3.5 million. The Water Project, Watsi, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation had each received $1 million, while BitGive had received $500,000 — which appears to be the largest donation this organization has ever received.

Cryptocurrency investors are often depicted as selfish, greed-driven individuals. However, this is not the first time that the Bitcoin community — whether as a group or as represented by an individual — has rallied to support worthy charities and causes.

Sean’s Outpost, a non-profit organization in Florida funded by bitcoin donations, has served more than 167,000 meals to homeless members of the local community. Just this month, the community donated almost $2 million to bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos after learning that he had been forced to sell his bitcoin holdings to pay his rent and continue working in the cryptocurrency space full-time during bitcoin’s “lean years.”

As with any group, cryptocurrency has its share of rapacious characters, but the stereotype that bitcoin holders are driven solely by greed is based far more on a two-dimensional caricature used to justify opposition to this nascent asset class than actual reality.

The truth is that the majority of cryptocurrency investors are honest, hardworking individuals who believe bitcoin will make the world a better place — and, when applicable, are willing to use their newfound wealth to help make that a reality.

Featured Image from Pexels

Craigslist Now Allows You to Specify That You Accept Cryptocurrency as Payment

craigslist crypto option

Craigslist has added a new option when making a for-sale post, titled ‘cryptocurrency ok’. It is an exciting time for the realm of cryptocurrency as we continue to see adoption and interest increase. It was 2014 when Yelp first allowed businesses to indicate on their site whether or not Bitcoin was accepted at their establishment. This, being Craigslist after all, is a much more distributed and peer-to-peer development in mainstream Bitcoin adoption. While adoption has seen some setbacks, such as Steam deciding to halt using Bitcoin as a form of payment for their game retailing platform, we’ve also seen Bitcoin really, really pass and leave behind the $10,000 USD mark. 

You can now specify if you accept cryptocurrency on Craigslist posts

craigslist crypto option
Craigslist crypto option shows up when posting

Despite scrutiny from some mainstream outlets, Craigslist is but one of many new avenues to usability opening up recently. For example, Yahoo’s Co-Founder recently said that he believed that Bitcoin could become a global force for good. Riding on the back of surging crypto markets across the board, we’ve also seen the payment service Square experimenting with Bitcoin as well. As 2017 draws to a close, things are looking up.

Where to spend bitcoin in Savannah, Georgia

savannah georgia bitcoin

Savannah, Georgia might not be the first place that comes to mind when trying to think of places to spend bitcoin. However, the long-time port city has many entrepreneurial technologists that have not only adopted Bitcoin for personal use, but also at the businesses they work at. One such Bitcoiner, Zach Acosta explained to Business in Savannah why he convinced his family restaurant, Roma Pizza, to accept bitcoins:

“I’d like to see it really pick up and us do more transactions. We’ve already done, you know, half a dozen now and it’s been a couple of months. I’d like to see it take off phenomenally. Even if we don’t do a lot of transactions it’s just good for, you know, visibility and novelty aspects of it.”

Back in 2014, Bitcoin cost less than $100 per coin according to the Block Explorer price index.

Where can you spend Bitcoin in Savannah, Georgia?

Other places you can spend bitcoin in Savannah include a tattoo parlor called Anonymous Tattoo, a tailor called Kleo’s Sewing Studio, and even an online plant terrarium store called Sproutsouth – and that was just in 2014. For more current listings, check out coinmap.org – an open source map of Bitcoin and Litecoin accepting businesses all around the world.

The hope that was present in much of the Bitcoin industry years ago, when these Bitcoiners were interviewed, is still there – it has just been tempered with many, many other opportunities. It is often said that Bitcoin can’t be used for day-to-day transactions anymore, when there’s a possibility that your on-chain Bitcoin transaction fee might be more than the amount you’re trying to send to buy a cup of coffee – or a personal pizza pie at Roma Pizza.

What’s Bitcoin in Savannah like in 2017?

Like many other locales, Savannah used to have a Bitcoin meetup. Unfortunately, the official meetup group has since been disbanded. Block Explorer has reached out to the former organizer of the Savannah Bitcoin Meetup and will follow up with an interview on the current status of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies in Savannah, Georgia.