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10:10 AM
Bryan Yurcan
Bryan Yurcan
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The Continuing Rise of Virtual Currency

Intuit announced this week it will enable businesses to accept Bitcoin payments.

It seems that Bitcoin -- and the idea of virtual currency -- becomes more mainstream by the week. Earlier this month came the amusing announcement that Bitcoin will be the title sponsor of a college football bowl game. More significantly, Quickbooks maker Intuit announced it will facilitate Bitcoin payments via a service called PayByCoin.

Though Bitcoin has long been derided in some corners as only being used by drug dealers, it's clear that the elitist tastemakers are wrong about this and that the will of the people can't be ignored. But while there increasingly are more venues for people to pay with Bitcoin, still a small percentage of the overall U.S. business ecosystem is equipped to accept it.

But that may all change with the Intuit announcement. I would imagine a large chunk of the country's small businesses use QuickBooks, and presumably Intuit feels enough of its client base would use this service to offer it.

Per the blog announcement from Intuit:

"Intuit's new PayByCoin service is made possible by a new integration between QuickBooks Online and Coinbase, the largest and fastest-growing Bitcoin wallet service in the United States.

PayByCoin is now available as a free add-on to small business operators who use QuickBooks Online to generate electronic invoices. Heres how it works: Small business operators register with CoinBase and link their wallets to their existing QuickBooks Online account. When a customer receives an invoice, they receive the option to pay by traditional methods, such as credit card, or by Bitcoin. Intuit does not currently charge any fee for this new service, and there is no fee for small businesses who use Coinbase."

Much like how Square revolutionized point-of-sale payments, allowing even flea market vendors to accept credit cards, this announcement could portend a new era in the Bitcoin payments landscape.

[Related Content: Why Bitcoin Won't Die]

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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