Bitcoin Acceptance Grows Again with Wikimedia Donations
Most people and business still don’t take Bitcoin seriously, calling it a high-risk passing fad, but that hasn’t stopped this digital currency from making a place for itself in the financial market. Last week Wikimedia Foundation, the operator of Wikipedia, announced that it will begin accepting bitcoins as donation. Wikimedia is the latest adopter of this virtual currency as a payment option, stating that it had been asked to accept bitcoins and it is important to the foundation to make donating as easy as possible.
Wikimedia has also partnered with Coinbase, a third-party processor that converts bitcoins into dollars. Coinbase launched with a $25 million investment from venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz and now counts Overstock, Expedia, and Dish Network as clients, processing bitcoins for all. Last month Dell also announced that it would soon begin accepting bitcoin payments, being the largest retailer to do so thus far. Coinbase claims to have about 35,000 merchants as clients, which typically pay a 1 percent processing fee after the first $1 million of sales. However, the company will waive all fees for Wikimedia and all registered nonprofits.
As bitcoin grows from its obscurity in 2009 to modern day fame, regulatory agencies are also stepping in. Bitcoin became a favorite among investors and venture capitalists and so the IRS stepped in with regulations. Last month New York became the first state to propose special regulations for virtual currencies. Bitcoin is definitely growing in popularity among merchants due at least in part to its low processing fees, but it’s unclear how many customers are actually using this currency to purchase goods and services. Industry insiders say that the bitcoin makes up a very small segment of income and has a tiny volume; however, it is also the fastest growing payment method.
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