In the world of bitcoin, 2014 was definitely the year of merchant adoption. Although there were plenty of different major news stories in the bitcoin world, the adoption of bitcoin by a large number of household names made this perhaps bitcoin’s best year yet (as long as you ignore the price). Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names that decided to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon over the course of 2014 (Read more: The 5 Biggest Bitcoin News Stories of 2014).
Although there were many different merchants that integrated bitcoin into their online payment gateways this year, there was no bigger name in the list than Microsoft. The tech giant has a market gap of just under $400 billion, and it was one of the last merchants to announce bitcoin integration in 2014. Although bitcoin can only be used for digital purchases at this time, it should not be long until Microsoft widens the scope of its bitcoin adoption. For now, Xbox and Windows Phones users will only be able to purchase various apps and games with bitcoin.
PayPal was another late addition to the bitcoin ecosystem in 2014, and many would make the case that this is the most important player to get into the game up to this point. Next to Amazon, there is no other company that bitcoin enthusiasts would rather see integrate with bitcoin today. The online payment processor is taking things slow at first, and bitcoin payments can only be turned on for PayPal merchants who sell digital goods. It seems that PayPal is going to test the waters with smaller, digital purchases at first before rolling out a completely bitcoin-integrated system. It should also be noted that PayPal does not turn on bitcoin acceptance for its merchants by default.
Although it didn’t last very long, there was a point in time when Dell was the largest company in the world to accept bitcoin payments. The computer hardware company sells their personal computers over the Internet, and bitcoin makes sense as a non-reversible payment method for these kinds of large purchases. The largest bitcoin purchase via the Dell website up to this point was for a $50,000 server.
Many were surprised to hear that DISH decided to accept bitcoin payments in 2014, but the satellite television provider makes perfect sense as a company that should get into the digital currency space. One of the main reasons that bitcoin makes sense for DISH is that they are slowly rolling out online channel subscription services that could eventually replace their current satellite offerings over the long term. This is another company that was once the largest merchant to accept bitcoin with a market cap at over $30 billion.
Newegg was one of the first large online retailers to accept bitcoin payments, and they were also one of the first merchants to offer a variety of discounts for bitcoin users. This company understands the value of bitcoin for merchants, and they want to create incentives for more people to use it in their daily lives. Newegg was by far the largest company to participate in Bitcoin Black Friday, and they were able to offer discounts on everything from video game consoles to headphones.
TigerDirect accepted bitcoin a few months before Newegg got into the game, and it’s possible that this company was actually the catalyst for their main competitor, Newegg, also accepting bitcoin later in the year. While not necessarily a household name, TigerDirect is well-known by people who order computer hardware online. TigerDirect was able to do over $1 million in bitcoin-powered sales in their first two months, and they were another company that understood the importance of offering discounts to bitcoin users.
The last one we have on this list is the company that initially got the ball rolling. Overstock rolled out bitcoin acceptance for their American customers in January of 2014, and they eventually offered the option to pay for goods with bitcoin to their international customers later in the year. This was the first billion-dollar company to enter the bitcoin space, and CEO Patrick Byrne has since become one of the biggest advocates for blockchain technology as a whole. By August, Overstock was averaging roughly $15,000 worth of bitcoin sales per day.