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Dish is the largest company to accept Bitcoin

Posting in Technology

Dish Network said that it will become the largest company to accept bitcoin. The company will begin accepting the digital currency in the third quarter of 2014.

"Bitcoin is becoming a preferred way for some people to transact and we want to accommodate those individuals," said Bernie Han, Dish executive vice president and chief operating officer, in a press release.

To process bitcoin transations Dish is turning to Coinbase, a digital wallet which has an "instant exchange" feature that changes bitcoin payment into U.S. dollars at the time of the transaction.

"This is a large step forward in the growing momentum of customers paying companies in bitcoin for things we do every day, like watching premium TV," said Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam in a statement.

But what's the motivation for Dish to allow bitcoin payments, even as Dish's COO admits that the number of customers that pay with bitcoin could be "tiny?" As the New York Times theorizes, it could be anything from wanting to attract new customers to a marketing ploy.

But for bitcoin it could be a rejuvenation after suffering some bad PR, with a price that's been volatile and one of its largest exchanges, Mt. Gox, shutting down earlier this year.

As Ehrsam told CNET in March Mt. Gox raised some issues about bitcoin, but "I think the industry is better off now without that being some piece of the infrastructure. I think those sort of incidents will become less and less frequent as players with more credible management teams and more credible backers operating under some remote set of regulatory framework -- those sort of things -- become more common."

Dish will be one step toward making bitcoin more credible.

Photo: Flickr/Jason Benjamin

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— By on May 30, 2014, 7:41 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure