Why tech giants like Microsoft and PayPal have started to accept crypto

A growing number of international corporations are starting to accept cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment. While still a long way off being mainstream, crypto merchant adoption has been steadily rising over the past few months, as a growing number of people express interest in how to buy cryptocurrency in Australia. And some of the biggest companies to voice support for cryptocurrency include global tech giants Microsoft and PayPal.

DOES MICROSOFT ACCEPT CRYPTOCURRENCY?

In 2014, Microsoft teamed up with BitPay and began accepting Bitcoin as a valid form of payment from crypto traders in Australia. This made Microsoft one of the first tech giants to jump on board with cryptocurrency. After a few minor hiccups (which saw Microsoft briefly rescind on their cryptocurrency adoption due to market volatility), Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin payments “to buy apps, games and other digital content from Windows, Window Phone, Xbox Games, Xbox Music or Xbox Video Stores”. This is undoubtedly good news for Bitcoin traders in Australia!

WHY DID MICROSOFT DECIDE TO ACCEPT CRYPTOCURRENCY? 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has long been a supporter of cryptocurrency, stating in one interview that “Bitcoin is better than currency.” But the company’s decision to implement Bitcoin payments was most likely fuelled by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who has also been described as “a Bitcoin fan.” This theory is in line with the way Nadella has been promoting a cloud-first business approach since he became CEO of Microsoft back in 2014. 

But the decision by Microsoft to adopt crypto payments was about more than just embracing a newly emerging currency. According to a statement released by corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft, Eric Lockard, adopting cryptocurrency “is about giving people options and helping them do more on their devices and in the cloud.” This was confirmed by Tony Gallippi, BitPay co-founder and executive chairman, who observed that Microsoft has an international customer base, “including many parts of the world that don’t have credit card penetration.” Because of this, without crypto, “it’s difficult for many consumers to be able to put money in their Microsoft accounts.”

DOES PAYPAL ACCEPT CRYPTOCURRENCY? 

PayPal announced in 2020 that they were going to start supporting client purchases with a range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum (although this list may expand with time). PayPal has proposed a system where users would be able to buy and sell items directly through PayPal while using crypto as the payment source. So, if you buy crypto in Australia, you can then use this digital currency to make international purchases through PayPal. The best part is, you won’t need to convert your cryptocurrency through a third-party crypto trading platform before you can finalise the payment through PayPal. 

WHY DID PAYPAL DECIDE TO ACCEPT CRYPTOCURRENCY?

PayPal has been quietly exploring crypto for years now. Dan Schulman, the CEO of PayPal, has pointed out in the past that cryptocurrency systems are actually more efficient and cost-effective than the current ACH network that the company uses. Schulman also drew attention to the increasing number of central banks that are testing out cryptocurrency applications and confirmed that PayPal is engaging in ongoing discussions regarding how digital wallets can be further utilised. 

WHAT OTHER BIG-BRAND CORPORATIONS WILL ACCEPT CRYPTOCURRENCY?

While only a limited number of big-brand companies are currently accepting payments via cryptocurrency, that doesn’t mean the other global giants aren’t interested. Airbnb reportedly “acquihired” a crypto start-up in 2016, while IBM is carefully investigating the potential uses of blockchain technology. Meanwhile, Google launched a search engine tool that enables searchers to find leading blockchains and Amazon-owned Twitch has enabled payment via Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

One global giant that recently adopted cryptocurrency as a valid form of payment is clean energy advocate and electric car manufacturer, Tesla. On the 24th of March 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter, “You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin.” But unlike most of the other companies listed here, Tesla has also made a decision not to convert cryptocurrency payments into fiat[1]. In other words, Tesla appreciates the value of having cryptocurrency as an alternative store of wealth. This marks a significant turning point in the history of cryptocurrency and is a clear indication that crypto is starting to gain mainstream acceptance amongst major international corporations.   

Source: Ting Wang

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