Microsoft has added Bitcoin conversion to Bing’s ever-growing arsenal of tricks, making Bing the first major search engine to support Bitcoin conversion and further solidifying the fledgling Bitcoin as a legitimate alternative currency.
With Bing’s new trick, finding out how much, say, an off-contract iPhone 5s would run you in Bitcoin is as simple as heading over to Bing.com and typing in “$649 to BTC.” (It’s 0.96 Bitcoin, by the way. Everything seems way more affordable when you convert it to Bitcoin.)
Bing draws its Bitcoin valuations from Coinbase, a year-and-a-half-old startup based in San Francisco that converts the currency to dollars and offers an online wallet for storing the virtual money. In May of last year, the service noted that users were converting the equivalent of $15 million a month. (For more on Bitcoin, read my colleague Rob Pegoraro’s beginner’s guide.)
Microsoft’s move will likely be seen as adding yet more legitimacy to the virtual currency, which has suffered at the hands of some fairly wild fluctuations. At present, a single BTC unit is valued at around $677. Last month, the price of the currency fluctuated between $750 and $1,000, with prices ranging between $350 and $1,250 back in November. The reasons for Bitcoin’s wild pricing ride are just as wide ranging, from investor concern to hacker attacks on Bitcoin servers.
For its part, Google has yet to throw any of its own currency conversion weight behind Bitcoin. Still, a number of mainstream outlets — including Overstock.com, WordPress and the Sacramento Kings basketball team — have begun to accept the currency as payment.
Absent from that list? Microsoft. So if you’re looking to buy an Xbox One with it (0.74 Bitcoin), you’ll have to find another method.
(Disclosure: Bing provides search results for Yahoo. You can read more about the partnership here.)
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