Satellite TV provider DISH Network Corp. said it will become the largest company to accept customer payments via the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
DISH said it will begin accepting bitcoin payments by September through payment processor Coinbase. Bitcoins will be instantly converted into U.S. dollars to avoid devaluation issues.
DISH EVP and COO said the impetus for accepting the digital currency was to attract and accommodate customers who prefer to transact via bitcoin. Those customers also tend to be younger, and mobile and tech-savvy — a key demographic DISH needs if it is to stay competitive with online video streaming rivals.
The DISH deal is another step in bitcoin's long march to legitimacy following a stream of unfortunate events, such as China's bitcoin crackdown, the Mt. Gox debacle and bitcoin's ties to the now shuttered online drug marketplace Silk Road.
The passage of time since these events clearly has been kind to the alternative currency, as more and more businesses jump on the bitcoin-acceptance bandwagon.
Along with that growing brood of businesses willing to deal in bitcoin, there's been a surge of digital wallets and bitcoin ATMs making it their mission to take the currency mainstream.
Perhaps the DISH deal will be the push bitcoin needs to squash concerns that the currency is fledgling and ultimately fleeting.