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Microsoft: Bitcoin Regulation Will Influence Expansion Plans

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on December 30, 2014 at 20:35 BST



Global tech giant and Internet pioneer Microsoft ignited a new wave of interest in both bitcoin and its brand with its surprise December announcement that it had integrated the digital currency as a payment option for digital goods.

While widely lauded by the bitcoin community as a small but forward-thinking step, optimism about the move arguably reached fever pitch when just a day later its partner BitPay suggested Microsoft was already considering ways to expand the payment option globally.

Speaking to CoinDesk, however, Microsoft offered a somewhat different take on its internal conversation regarding bitcoin. While the company did not deny that discussions about the technology were ongoing, the company sought to frame such conversation as typical for any of its products and services.

The spokesperson said:

“We are a global company, and we always think about our markets globally, be it for bitcoin or for all of our services and products.”

Notably, Microsoft went on to suggest that, while it has no new announcements to make at this time, it may be looking for further assurances of bitcoin’s legal status before making any additional movements in the space.

“Whatever we might do, we will do it in a smart way to ensure we meet our customers’ needs while respecting local laws and regulations,” the company added.

The comments come as regulation for bitcoin businesses is maturing in the US, although ongoing debate on the subject continues globally.

Flexibility at the forefront

In statements, Microsoft went on to paint its initial interest in bitcoin as part of its overall drive toward offering more flexible spending solutions to its customers, particularly ones that garner sufficient consumer demand.

"Microsoft continually investigates new technologies and that means providing our customers with personalized and frictionless buying experiences,” the company said.

Microsoft cited its recent support for digital gift cards via a dedicated website and mobile app as yet another example of how it is seeking to more widely embrace payments innovation.

With this in mind, the company framed digital goods as a “logical first place” to add bitcoin, although it did not indicate that other products were considered during the planning process, or if it is attempting to reach any specific demographics with the option.

Interest in bitcoin tech

Though not providing detail, Microsoft did corroborate BitPay’s statements that it sees potential for bitcoin beyond the world of payments.

“The technology behind bitcoin also represents an interesting set of new technologies to explore in the world of distributed, connected devices,” Microsoft stated, hinting at bitcoin's potential to impact the developing 'Internet of Things' economy.

For now, however, even those who seek to spend bitcoin through their Microsoft accounts will be somewhat limited. The company imposes a $1,000 daily spending cap for those who load their accounts with bitcoin, and a $5,000 maximum per account.

Overall, despite such restrictions, the company is pleased with the results, concluding that customers have "responded positively" to the decision.

Microsoft image via Wikipedia


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