Updated: Microsoft Store drops Bitcoin payment option

UPDATE 3/14/2016 at 5:51 PM: In a statement to Ars Technica, Microsoft says the FAQ update that prompted this story was "a mistake," and that its store will continue to accept Bitcoin. Our original story is below.

In 2014, Microsoft made a move to accept Bitcoin for Microsoft Store transactions, using BitPay as a middleman. Now, that relationship seems to be coming to an end. Without much fanfare, Microsoft has removed Bitcoin as a payment option. The company only offered a two-sentence explanation for the change in its FAQ for the Microsoft Store. Past purchases made with Bitcoin are now non-refundable thanks to the change.

A variety of competing crypto-currencies, increasing regulatory burdens, and price volatility all might have made the continued acceptance of Bitcoin a less-than-appealing prospect for Microsoft. While Bitcoin is less volatile than in its infancy, the currency still lost 30% of its value in the month after the company began accepting it before prices recovered somewhat late last year.

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    • Krogoth
    • 4 years ago

    Cryptocurrency craze was a just modern version of the tulip speculator craze.

    It is a just digital bartering system at best used by gray market parties for under the table deals.

    • yogibbear
    • 4 years ago

    I’m glad bitcoin exists, merely to watch all the banksters squeal. However, it doesn’t mean I need to have any bitcoins myself. It’s kinda like AMD existing, just enough to give Nvidia a prod every now and then, but doesn’t mean I need to buy anything AMD. So yeah, I would support anything that enables the continued existence of crypto-currenices.

    • BIF
    • 4 years ago

    If we stop accepting bitcoin for payment, then it will be harder for the cryptolocker people to get their ransoms under cover of anonymity.

    Seriously, I want to see a ransomer pay physically. Any ransomer, no matter how old, young, or sad their life story. And not with money. I want to see corporal punishment and imprisonment. I swear, all we have to do is punish a couple dozen of them in a very hard way and we’ll see no more cryptolocker or cryptowall.

    Why yes I am having a grouchy day, but I’m doing my best to help something good come out of this.

    • oldog
    • 4 years ago

    Another reason to short AMD?

    • blastdoor
    • 4 years ago

    Maybe Microsoft discovered that the types of people who use BC do not tend to pay for legal copies of software….

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    Bitcoin is a joke. Did anyone REALLY think we could simply print our own money?

      • Bensam123
      • 4 years ago

      This is funny because the government does it all the time… right?

        • trackerben
        • 4 years ago

        Did anyone really think we could be our own government all the time?

          • sreams
          • 4 years ago

          Well… a representative government is supposed to be “our own government all the time,” but we easily forget that.

          At least the Bitcoin concept has limits of some kind. Fiat currency has no limits whatsoever apart from those self-imposed by government (if you call those limits at all).

            • Bensam123
            • 4 years ago

            Yup…

          • Bensam123
          • 4 years ago

          I hear politicians aren’t people and don’t get elected.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 4 years ago

            They’re lizards

      • superjawes
      • 4 years ago

      Yes, apparently.

      • colinstu12
      • 4 years ago

      USD hasn’t been backed by hard assets in… decades.

        • ludi
        • 4 years ago

        An $18.7 trillion (with a T) economy and the ability to project logistical force worldwide are two remarkably good assets to have if you’re issuing currency.

          • Vaughn
          • 4 years ago

          That 18.7 Trillion number looks great until you look at the debt.

          [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States[/url<]

            • ludi
            • 4 years ago

            That debt is partly a consequence of other countries wanting to deal in USD. Why? Because the size of the US economy, and the power of the US government, makes it very likely that they will get a return. In short, US currency is valuable even though it is a fiat currency.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 4 years ago

            The debt looks bad until you realize that 30% of it is owed to the US Government through internal measures.

            Take the Social Security Trust Fund: it owns over [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_Trust_Fund<]$2 Trillion of the debt[/url<]. Without the debt, Social Security wouldn't be funded. Social Security needed to save some $3 Trillion at the height of its savings (saved between 1980 through 2010, when Social Security was saving money). There is no entity in the world, aside from the US Government, that could have "stored" that amount of money. Yes, the Senators / House Representatives are a bit more forward-looking than a lot of naysayers believe. The 1980s Congress set up Social Security to save its profits, knowing that our population dynamics would inevitably require a ton of money as the Baby Boomers retired 30 years later. Then consider the $1 to $2 Trillion that the Fed owns (yeah, the Fed is private for-profit companies, aside from the chairman). So without [b<]THAT[/b<] debt, our banking system literally wouldn't function. So not all debt is bad. I think we need to reduce the debt, but its important to remember that roughly $5 Trillion of our debt is [b<]strictly[/b<] a good thing (in that it provided a place for Social Security to save money, AND is being used to stabilize our economy through the Fed)

            • cygnus1
            • 4 years ago

            You do understand there is a pretty significant difference between personal debt and national/sovereign debt, right?

        • ronch
        • 4 years ago

        Yes but you’re not the government.

      • GrimDanfango
      • 4 years ago

      What is such a joke? Any currency is just an arbitrary bunch of numbers in a machine given stability by a system of regulation. The only way Bitcoin really differs in that regard is it’s the only one whose regulatory system isn’t dictated by a national government and the will of banks. (well, crypto-currencies are the only several-hundred rather)

      As I understand it, nobody ever printed their own money… it cost plenty in hardware and electricity, and from what I’ve read, it’s that process itself that in the future would constitute a kind of distributed regulatory system – people “mining” would effectively be rewarded for processing transactions for existing coins.

      I’m rather impressed how well it’s worked so far… the fact that it appears to have hit any kind of long-term stability seems pretty remarkable. Considering how obviously at-odds the whole idea is with all world governments and banks, I think the only thing that has given it a chance to play out without being summarily crushed in its infancy is the fact that people mostly tend to laugh at it and dismiss it.

      I’ve not bought in myself, but I’m genuinely intrigued to see where crypto-currencies lead in the future…

        • wimpishsundew
        • 4 years ago

        You are right that any currency is just an arbitrary bunch of numbers that people choose to believe has value. But honestly, every type of currency including the gold standard is the same. At least government backed currency has value given by a valid government body that will ensure its value is perceived equally by everyone and the USD has relatively high stability.

        Now Bitcoin is on a lower level than your regular currency like the USD. It is a currency that has no governing body to support its value. In fact, it needs to rely on other currency to survive. Bitcoin is literally a joke of a currency and one of the biggest scams to hit the world wide population. There are so much corruption that caused instability and neither local or international laws can hold people accountable. It was a quick cash grab for a lot of people but a lot more people lost money. I just don’t understand the trust in a currency is not backed by any governing body and the people that manage your accounts/transfer has literally no one to answer to. They can escape any jurisdiction by simply moving to another location.

        I love how suddenly everyone is bashing bitcoin now. I’ve been vocal against any type of cryptocurrency since its debut. Every time I say anything, the internet population will bash me, send threatening messages, discredit with slandering arguments, and down voted to oblivion. Not that I care about another arbitrary popularity contest. I just find it funny that everybody is now saying “I knew bitcoin was BS all along”.

          • VincentHanna
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<]It is a currency that has no governing body to support its value.[/quote<] Bitcoin actually does have a governing body. I'm not exactly sure how much fine control they have, but I do know that this body is responsible for controlled bitcoin deflation at pre-determined milestones to ensure that bitcoin miners never devalue the currency. [quote<]In fact, it needs to rely on other currency to survive. [/quote<] Also untrue. Like any currency, bitcoins rely on your ability to transform some worthless thing into some other thing that is valuable. This can be agricultural machinery, services, sundries, or yes, even other currencies. While it's true that Bitcoins don't have a central government mandating their use, and therefore necessitating it within a given geographical region, Bitcoins will remain valuable as long as they remain an effective, liquid value store (though a proper banking system is the primary difference between Bitcoins and any of the other bagillion crypto currencies out there.) [quote<]and the people that manage your accounts/transfer has literally no one to answer to. [/quote<] Probably a good idea to store your bitcoins under your matress then. No, seriously. Don't use the banking system, except for transactions. There is no advantage to handing all of your money over to some guy with a truck, just because he says he'll be there next week if you need to buy something. I don't deny that a lot of people got scammed after that mount gox fiasco, but anyone who did, did it to themselves.

          • sreams
          • 4 years ago

          “At least government backed currency has value given by a valid government body that will ensure its value is perceived equally by everyone”

          On the contrary, “valid” government bodies ensure, instead, that they control currencies so that they can take direct advantage of that control. Fiat currencies are anything but “equal to everyone”. The first entities to receive newly printed or created money are the ones who benefit from it at the direct expense at those “lower” in the chain. Government money-creation is the ultimate way to take directly from a population without their consent, and without limit.

        • ronch
        • 4 years ago

        I was supposed to reply to your post but your first paragraph took the words out of my mouth (or fingers).

      • atari030
      • 4 years ago

      The thing about alternative currencies is that for it to be a going concern: a) a critical mass of entities must agree to accept it and b) it must prove itself to be viable and not volatile to the point of mistrust

      Point b) being critical to driving point a) (driving point b to a? 🙂

      Some say we’ve reached this juncture already…..but I’m not buying it, heh

        • blastdoor
        • 4 years ago

        I don’t think those criteria are enough for a currency to work in the long run.

        Gold once met those criteria, but it ultimately became unable to meet the needs of modern economies.

          • atari030
          • 4 years ago

          I don’t disagree, I was just speaking in generalities regarding the big hit criteria. But, yes, adding the criterion that the currency can be easily exchanged by the parties involved would be another one…and one that gold no longer satisfied.

          • VincentHanna
          • 4 years ago

          [quote<]Gold once met those criteria, but it ultimately became unable to meet the needs of modern economies.[/quote<] Gold still meets those criteria. In fact, I don't know of a single economist that wouldn't refer to gold as a modern currency today.

            • blastdoor
            • 4 years ago

            Do you know a single economist?

            I actually know quite a few, and strictly speaking, am one myself (if by “economist” you mean “has a Ph.D. in economics”). I don’t view gold as a “modern currency” and I don’t personally know any other economist who does either. I am aware that there people who argue that putting the dollar back on the gold standard would have some tremendous benefits, but I view those people as cranks and charlatans (edit — and suckers — mostly suckers).

      • Firestarter
      • 4 years ago

      It wasn’t worth anything until people started paying for it. If I start a company that sells a product which consists of me writing a “1000” on a piece of paper, and people pay me money for that paper, am I printing my own money?

      • slowriot
      • 4 years ago

      If you think Bitcoin is a joke then you should do some research on block chain tech as a whole. It doesn’t take long to realize that the global financial industry is taking it extremely seriously. There are a number of interesting services being built upon it, like Ethereum.

        • ronch
        • 4 years ago

        If you think Bitcoin is not a joke I suggest you buy a bunch of Radeons and start mining.

          • slowriot
          • 4 years ago

          I think you’re missing my point. Bitcoin is certainly flawed and I don’t know if it’ll ever be a truly workable currency. But the technology behind Bitcoin, block chain tech, is quite important and you can fully expect it (in various forms) to become mainstream. If you googled “ethereum” for example you could see some of the very early forms of what I’m talking about already.

      • egon
      • 4 years ago

      Another joke is Visa/MasterCard/PayPal often being the only payment options when buying online.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 4 years ago

        What?

        [url=https://www.dwolla.com/<]Dwolla[/url<] doesn't exist or something? Absolutely free transfers through ACH transactions for all sides is bad or something? Look, BTC isn't needed to revolutionize the online payment networks. It got people talking about it, but it really isn't as good of a payment platform as people thought it would be... [url=https://medium.com/@octskyward/the-resolution-of-the-bitcoin-experiment-dabb30201f7#.6tu8mdz8y<]especially now that BTC can't even grow the size of its ledger without the community utterly imploding[/url<]. Honestly, Dwolla is a much better choice. First of all, the transaction fees of Dwolla is lower than BTC (in practice, BTC is getting slower and slower without setting up a "[url=https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Transaction_fees<]transaction fee[/url<]". Unless the community can grow the block-size, larger and larger transaction fees are going to become a real thing). For another, Dwolla is built on top of the decades-long ACH network [b<]that just works[/b<] (almost everyone's paychecks are delivered through zero-cost ACH. Why not build payment processors on top of that?)

          • Firestarter
          • 4 years ago

          Right, so can weed dispensaries accept Dwolla? or Paypal? Can they use those payment methods without being afraid of losing that privilege? I’m not saying that Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are better per se, but there is definitely a market for it as long as the companies in the payment processing business keep creating that market with how they treat their customers

            • dragontamer5788
            • 4 years ago

            For a payment platform to reach widespread acceptance, you’re gonna need a better argument than “gray market / black market goods work through this platform”.

            In any case, I’d be worried about using BTC without a few cycles through a mixing-service, which is IMO straight up money laundering. [url=https://blockchain.info/tx/12d8b1c79c64740c2721c42eb8753199142dd0a798091f7cd60184567f2a254e<]You do realize that BTC transactions are permanently published and logged into the blockchain forever more, right[/url<]? Your choices for anonymization are basically "mixing", which is probably illegal (even though no one has really said anything about it... I'd bet you a mixer is illegal). Or permanently making a log with your specific BTC Wallet. I do realize that you can create new BTC Wallets, but people can run analysis on your wallets and figure out where the money came from... unless you actually use a money laundering (I mean... BTC Mixing) site.

      • puppetworx
      • 4 years ago

      Almost every nation on earth does…

      Bitcoin actually works more like the Gold supply since you can’t just drastically increase the supply. Work must be done to produce the currency and production becomes progressively harder.

        • ronch
        • 4 years ago

        Big difference is, the government isn’t in it so it’s not legal. Hence, we can’t just print Bitcoins and expect them to be real, legit money.

          • puppetworx
          • 4 years ago

          So Microsoft was accepting an illegal currency?

          I imagine you’re talking about ‘legal tender’? Legal tender laws were never required for gold because only a fool would refuse to accept payment in gold. It’s only paper, fiat currency which required legal tender laws. Legal tender laws do not determine if a currency is legal only if such a currency must be accepted as payment of offered. All currencies are legal unless expressly forbidden, legal tender or not.

            • ronch
            • 4 years ago

            Not legal. Not illegal either. Somewhere in between.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 4 years ago

    Oh, ho! A wild Robert appears.

      • JalaleenRumi
      • 4 years ago

      Bitcoin, GO!!!

      -BitCoin faints

      -You have been blacked out.

    • bittermann
    • 4 years ago

    I’m surprised Bitcoin is still a thing since the average guy can’t make his own free money anymore.

      • faramir
      • 4 years ago

      I’m surprised it ever was a thing.

      “Since we decided a few weeks ago to adopt the leaf as legal tender, we have, of course, all become immensely rich.”

        • Captain Ned
        • 4 years ago

        “And now the exchange rate is roughly three deciduous forests for one ship’s biscuit”

          • cobalt
          • 4 years ago

          “In order to obviate this problem and effectively revalue the leaf, we are about to embark on an extensive defoliation campaign, and burn down all the forests.”

      • Deanjo
      • 4 years ago

      I wouldn’t say setting up and powering mining rigs were “free”.

    • DrCR
    • 4 years ago

    I’d be really curious just how many bitcoin users would buy something from Microsoft’s store.

      • NovusBogus
      • 4 years ago

      Indeed. Before BTC got lost in the weeds the point of it was to create a global economic infrastructure outside the traditional Big Whatever sphere. Losing major retailer support is never a good thing, but I likewise doubt that it’ll impact those who weren’t just in it for the money.

      • VincentHanna
      • 4 years ago

      Probably quite a few.

      It’s called money laundering.

      Any bitcoins that were taken by: ransomeware, silk road transactions, drug cartels, etc, need to be exchanged for legitimate goods and sold. A legitimate sale, bitcoins for a truckload of Brand new surface pros is incredibly valuable to the plethora of criminal organizations who use Bitcoins due to their lack of government regulation and oversight, and who might otherwise need to launder their money by doing buisness under the table(which is more risky and more expensive)

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