Halt and catch fire! After a controversial move that sent a shockwave or two through the Bitcoin community, Microsoft has started accepting the cryptocurrency once again.
Basically, the software giant has rethought the unstable currency.
And resumed accepting it as payment after temporarily halting it last week. It was not the first time the Redmond based company stopped supporting Bitcoin, as it temporarily halted payments twice in the past — once in 2015 and another time in 2016.
The reasons for these pauses were plain evident.
Apparently, the latest pause was reportedly due to the unstable state of the Bitcoin currency. In other words, the current high volatility and fees of the cryptocurrency is having a direct effect on the adoption of the original digital coin.
The company was not alone in this regard, as Steam also dropped its Bitcoin payments feature in early December, citing chronic problems with the high transaction fees and volatile price of the currency.
However, as a Microsoft spokeswoman has just confirmed, the company has restored Bitcoin payments:
“We’ve restored bitcoin as a payment option in our store after working with our provider to ensure lower bitcoin amounts would be redeemable by customers.”
Peace, as they say, has once again returned to the valley.
Microsoft first added the Bitcoin payments for digital products back in 2014, allowing US customers to use the digital currency to purchase content from its store. Content like apps, games, videos, songs, and books from the Microsoft Store.
This news of the company accepting it once again comes hot on the heels of JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon saying that he regretted calling Bitcoin a fraud.
While Bitcoin has absolutely exploded in value and acceptance last year, skyrocketing fees and long transaction times have made it increasingly difficult to carry out day to day commerce using the Bitcoin network.
Which sometimes struggles to process more than 4 transactions per second, but has the capacity to scale it up to 100 at times.
Of course, the real issue stems from the fact that Bitcoin users can choose to add an optional fee to a transaction. The higher the fee, the more likely the transaction is to be accepted by miners so that it makes it to the next block.
This intense competition has gotten even more extreme in recent months, as more investors pile into Bitcoin and compete for the limited space in each block. Thereby pushing up the average fees, and forcing users to either pay a higher price or wait for their transaction to go through.
Wait, which often extends to hours, sometimes weeks.
All that said, the core developers of Bitcoin have been working on implementing scaling solutions for this problem. Dubbed Lightning Network, this new technology aims to speed things up considerably, and has been under testing for a while now.
Nevertheless, adoption is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, this side of security. The more readily these digital currencies are accepted for sales and purchases, the higher their chances of success in the real world.
This latest development is another such positive step.