Virtual currency was on the ropes earlier this year. Bitcoin, the preeminent peer-to-peer online payment system, saw its value slashed by more than half after its largest exchange was hacked and shut down. Yet the fortunes of cryptocurrency have recently rebounded.
Apple used to block programs from its App Store that managed or otherwise dealt in bitcoin and its ilk. Now, though, Apple will allow iOS developers to support the use of certain cyber coinage. Apple has yet to say which of the dozens of cyber currencies out there it will now honor.
Meanwhile, satellite TV provider Dish Network will soon start letting its 14 million household subscribers pay their monthly bills using bitcoin. And rapper 50 Cent is accepting bitcoin as payment for his latest album. By the way, at this moment’s exchange rate, 50 Cent would also be known as 0.00075 Bitcoin. Not as catchy.
Such high-profile endorsements should help bring cyber tokens closer to the mainstream, even though there’s a risk that they’ll go down in value once you buy them. Still, U.S. consumers might be open to the idea. They’ve been hooked on a virtual currency for decades. It’s called credit cards.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]