The number of retailers accepting bitcoins as payment is growing, and is expected to become much more common.
Do you want to pay by Visa, MasterCard or bitcoin?
The digital currency bitcoin is not as readily accepted as major credit cards, but it’s getting there. CheapAir.com now accepts bitcoins for hotel bookings, reports USA Today. It has accepted the virtual payment for flights since November.
So what’s the attraction to the virtual currency available through online exchanges? Well, it spends like cash, and merchants that accept it aren’t charged transaction fees as they are by credit card companies, says a guest blog post on The Christian Science Monitor.
Although many associate bitcoin with purchases of virtual products, such as playing social network games like Zynga’s Farmville, those accepting bitcoin payment for actual goods tripled between November and December 2013, says Bloomberg.
That growth is international but also included some major U.S. retailers, such as Amazon and Victoria’s Secret, the Monitor post said. Although those retailers don’t accept bitcoins directly, shoppers can use bitcoins to buy gift cards for purchases at those stores.
Jerry Brito, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told USA Today:
We’re going to see an ever-growing number of merchants begin to accept bitcoin. Bitcoin is a network … Facebook is a network. Why do you join Facebook? Because everyone else is on Facebook. The more people will own and spend the bitcoin, the more merchants will accept them, and more people will use them.
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