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Microsoft Hops on Bitcoin Wagon With Bitpay Partnership

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Microsoft is now accepting bitcoin, revealing its support of the digital currency while also subtly slipping its cloud ambitions into an announcement.

Redmond says it expects the growth of digital currencies to continue to grow. Microsoft's acceptance of bitcoin helps position the software giant at the front of the currency trend, according to Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Universal Store.

"For us, this is about giving people options and helping them do more on their devices and in the cloud," says Lockard. "The use of digital currencies such as bitcoin, while not yet mainstream, is growing beyond the early enthusiasts."

Hoarders of Bitcoin can convert digital funds into local currency using Microsoft's currency exchange. Microsoft will base the exchanges on current market values, the company stated in a blog post.

Individuals wishing to pay for Microsoft products using bitcoin will have to convert the digital currency and apply it to a Microsoft account. To start a bitcoin conversion, individuals will have specify the amount of money they'd like to add to their Microsoft accounts.

BitPay, which has won the support of approximately 50,000 business, will calcuate  how many bitcoin an individual must tender in order to match the amount they're looking to transfer to Microsoft accounts. The individual's bitcoin address and payment details are then transferred and funds are paid out of BitPay accounts.

Right now, bitcoin exchanges are capped at $1,000 per day or the equivalent. For those with more than one Microsoft account, the cap allows up to $5,000 to be exchanged over the accounts.

Microsoft has a bigger plan at work with digital currency but says it isn't ready to talk about the big picture just yet.

Microsoft only supports bitcoin exchanges in the U.S., though its statements on the conversions of based on regional currency hints the tech firm is already looking outside abroad. Sonny Singh, Bitpay's chief commercial officer, says Microsoft wants to expand its acceptance of bitcoin around the world.

"Microsoft has a long-term vision for bitcoin, BitPay and the blockchain," says Singh. "Starting with digital goods in the US is the logical first step, however, they want to expand to Europe and globally and add support for other products as part of that rollout."

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