Microsoft took the bitcoin world by surprise late last night with the sudden announcement that it would allow consumers to purchase its digital content with the digital currency.
The move, which opened its Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox platforms to a new payment method, provided a notable uptick in attention to the industry, as the price of bitcoin rose roughly 4% in its aftermath on the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index.
While volatility in the markets declined over the day, interest in Microsoft's decision held strong. Major tech and finance publications, from Forbes to Gizmodo, all profiled the announcement, and conversation about the company's decision had a strong presence on social media.
Characterizations of what the news meant for Microsoft were varied. BitPay suggested in an interview that the Washington-based Internet pioneer is seeking to move aggressively to court innovation, and that bitcoin is high on this agenda.
However, a Microsoft spokesperson was less enthusiastic when speaking to The Wall Street Journal, stating: "We are dipping our toe in the water, we are not going guns blazing on this yet."
Regardless of what the move means for Microsoft, this vote of confidence from a tech industry giant could have a wide range of effects on the bitcoin industry.
For more on what this impact will be, CoinDesk sought comment from a wide range of industry participants. View their full comments below:
Francesco DeParis, head of business development, Mirror
Will Wheeler, CEO, expresscoin
Adam Ludwin, founder, Chain
Josh Rossi, VP of business development, Bitfinex
Kevin Zhou, economist, Buttercoin
Raffael Danielli, market analyst, Matlab Trading
Jeremy Allaire, CEO, Circle
Jaron Lukasiewicz, CEO, Coinsetter
Haseeb Awan, co-founder, BitAccess
Taariq Lewis, CEO, DigitalTangible
Jerry Brito, executive director, Coin Center
Jon Matonis, board member, Bitcoin Foundation
Tanaya Macheel contributed reporting.