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.
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.
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.
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