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Dell becomes largest ecommerce retailer to accept Bitcoin

July 22, 2014

Computer company Dell has announced it will become the world's largest ecommerce business to accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Computer company Dell has announced it will become the world’s largest ecommerce business to accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

According to the company, consumers and small businesses alike will be able to shop through Dell using the digital currency and a third party payment processor called Coinbase, with over 650,000 users. It took the third-largest computer company in the world just fourteen days to integrate Bitcoin from inception to launch, explained Silicon Angle.

“When I look at the big opportunities that exist in the world,” company CEO and founder Michael Dell told Silicon Angle. “The big unsolved problems, whether it’s in medicine, education, energy, or the environment, I think these are all problems that technology will solve.”

When customers are shopping through Dell’s website and arrive at the payment screen, they simply click on an option for paying with Bitcoin. When they do this, they will be taken to Coinbase where payment can be completed through an account with the payment processor or by scanning a QR code.

Once payment is verified, the buyer is sent back to Dell for order confirmation. Right now only U.S. based shoppers can make purchases off of the website using Bitcoin.

What is a Bitcoin and why has Dell begun accepting it?
The cryptocurrency’s website explains that Bitcoin is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network powered by its users. The idea was first mentioned in 1998 by Wei Dai on a cypherpunk mailing list. He suggested that a new form of currency be invented that used cryptography, or code, in order to control transactions.

The first Bitcoin specification and proof of concept was published in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. He left the project the following year though, and the currency has been furthered by a number of developers ever since.

Now consumers or businesses can use the digital currency to purchase any product on the Dell website.

“Bitcoin is a new payment option intended to offer even more flexibility for customers,” an FAQ on Dell’s decision to accept Bitcoins explained. “Bitcoin payments can be made easily from anywhere in the world, and offer reduced payment processing costs.”

According to Here Is The City, the company believes the use of Bitcoins holds several advantages over that of credit or debit cards including lower payment processing costs and transaction fees and no controlling financial institution.

Other ecommerce retailers have begun accepting the payment as well such as TigerDirect, Newegg and Overstock, though none of them have the size of Dell – which boats over 100,000 employees and over $60 billion in annual sales according to CryptoCoinNews. Dell does not release much information on how large a share of yearly revenue comes via e-commerce.

The cryptocurrency publication noted that typically, following a large business’ announcement of Bitcoin acceptance, the digital currency sees a surge, followed by a lag, in usage. This means Dell should expect to see a massive influx of Bitcoin payments before use of the currency lulls and return to normalcy.

The hope among many, CryptoCoinNews also noted, is that small businesses will embrace Dell’s announcement and use Bitcoin to purchase business-to-business to services. This would create a closed Bitcoin economy set to expand as more stakeholders take advantage of the digital currency.

Adam White, the director of business development and strategy at Coinbase, had reached out to Dell several months ago in an attempt to sway the computer giant toward Bitcoin acceptance, explained the Wall Street Journal. White stated that the conversations were good, but that nothing materialized until Dell reached out to him a couple weeks ago.

The company intended to integrate Bitcoin payment and wanted to get it done before the back-to-school shopping season. Now Bitcoin payments have been fully implemented by the Texas-based computer company, further expanding possibilities for both the digital currency and e-commerce. 

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