UPDATE: March 15, 2016, 8:54 a.m. CET Microsoft got back to us with a statement, saying the information posted on its website was inaccurate.
“We continue to support Bitcoin for adding money to your Microsoft Account which can be used for purchasing content in the Windows and Xbox stores. We apologize for inaccurate information that was inadvertently posted to a Microsoft site, which is currently being corrected,” a company spokesperson told Mashable.
It seems Microsoft is jumping off the Bitcoin bandwagon.
The company’s online store has quietly announced — via a FAQ update — that it’s no longer accepting the cryptocurrency.
“You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can’t be refunded,” says a note in the Microsoft Store FAQ.
Microsoft did not officially announce the change anywhere else.
Microsoft added support for Bitcoin to its online store in Dec. 2014, when the value of one bitcoin was already far below its all-time-high price of around $1,100, but the buzz around the digital currency was still quite intense.
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency and payment system wherein transactions are validated through the work of miners — computers performing a complex mathematical calculation, for which they are rewarded with newly formed bitcoins. It has several advantages over traditional payment systems, such as small transaction fees and decentralization, but the currency hasn’t been widely adopted yet, mostly due to its steep learning curve and ever-fluctuating value.
Bitcoin is somewhat less of a hot topic these days, with most news concerning the worrying split between the cryptocurrency’s top developers. Essentially, the Bitcoin software has recently split into two “forks,” with Bitcoin Core leaving things as they are, and the other — Bitcoin Classic — having an increased block size limit (2MB instead of 1MB), allowing for more transactions in the same amount of time. A consensus on which fork should become the official version of the Bitcoin software still hasn’t been achieved.
It’s unclear whether Microsoft’s decision to remove Bitcoin support from its store has anything to do with the block size debate. We’ve contacted Microsoft and post any updates when we hear more.
Disclosure: The author of this article owns a small amount of Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies.
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