Microsoft adds support for Bitcoin

Software vendor adds support for crypto-currency

Microsoft has announced it will support the use of the Bitcoin crypto-currency for purchasing digital goods.

The software vendor announced it had added support for transactions using the digital currency for people in the US.

The service will operate through BitPay. Via BitPay, users can add funds to their Microsoft account using bitcoins, which will be exchanged at "current market value".

"The use of digital currencies such as bitcoin, while not yet mainstream, is growing beyond the early enthusiasts," said Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft, in a statement.

"We expect this growth to continue and allowing people to use bitcoin to purchase our products and services now allows us to be at the front edge of that trend."

A maximum of US$1000 can be added to a single Microsoft account per day using Bitcoin. There is a cap of $5000 for all Microsoft accounts linked to an individual.

Currently Microsoft supports Bitcoin-based purchases from the Windows Store, Xbox Games, Xbox Music and Xbox Video.

The use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin is currently the subject of an Australian parliamentary inquiry.

The inquiry by the Senate's Economics References Committee was established in October on the initiative of Labor Senator Sam Dastyari.

At the first hearing of the inquiry, held on 26 November, the crypto-currency's advocates said that a ruling by the Australian Taxation Office on the treatment of Bitcoin was acting as a brake on Bitcoin-related businesses in Australia.

Supporters of Bitcoin say it should be treated as akin to a foreign currency. However, the ATO currently treats transactions with Bitcoin as a form of barter.

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