Maybe it’s the result of a growing trend, or maybe it’s an attempt to grab headlines after the AT&T-DirecTV buy. Whatever the reason, satellite TV provider Dish Network announced on Thursday that it would start accepting Bitcoin for payments.
Starting in the summer or early fall 2014, Dish customers will be able to pay their bills with Bitcoin on mydish.com. Payment options for credit card, debit card, and bank account transfers will still be available, the company said.
“Bitcoin is becoming a preferred way for some people to transact and we want to accommodate those individuals,” Bernie Han, DISH’s chief operating officer said in a statement.
Dish’s Bitcoin transactions will be handled by Coinbase, a popular Bitcoin payment processor for companies such as OK Cupid, Overstock.com, and Reddit.
One Bitcoin is currently worth around $565, according to the Winklevoss Index.
A rising tide
By jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon, Dish becomes the largest company so far to accept the crypto-currency for goods and services rendered. It is also the first pay TV company to accept the controversial e-currency. Other well-known companies accepting Bitcoin include the aforementioned Overstock.com and online electronics retailer TigerDirect.
Beyond retailers and service providers, the Chicago Sun-Times began accepting Bitcoin in April for subscriptions. The newspaper had previously experimented with Bitcoin payments in February.
Bitcoin continues to gain momentum in the push to take the crypto-currency mainstream–heck, you can even send Bitcoin through Facebook. This is happening despite Bitcoin oddities, like the mystery surrounding bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and the controversial end of major Bitcoin trading house Mt. Gox.
But Bitcoin still has a number of hurdles to clear before we’ll see the currency being embraced at your corner store or local bistro. Mainstream users (read: people who don’t skim tech sites) will have to be comfortable with handling Bitcoin wallets and all the threats of malware and scams that come with it. Governments will need to be comfortable with the payment method. Plus, Bitcoin’s value will need to stabilize a lot from the wild swings the crypto-currency suffers from now.
In the meantime, however, it’s a good bet we’ll see a few more larger companies accept Bitcoin in the coming months.