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AT&T now accepts Bitcoin as payment for its 150+ million subscribers

AT&T now accepts Bitcoin as payment for its 150+ million subscribers

AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunications company, became the first major U.S. mobile carrier to accept Bitcoin for payment.

AT&T customers will now be able to select BitPay as a payment option, allowing for bill payment in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. The telecom company had over 150 million subscribers as of Q4 2018.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services,” said Kevin McDorman, vice president, AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations. “We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”

Using BitPay is currently limited to paying bills for AT&T services. Purchasing phones or signing new service contracts are not impacted by the integration.

The news follows a trend of increasing merchant acceptance of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a method of payment. Last week, Flexa network and its SPEDN app expanded acceptance for the top coins among some of the largest brands, including Whole Foods, Lowe’s, and Nordstrom.

Starbucks and other major companies are contemplating accepting Bitcoin independent of a crypto-specific payments processor. However, the tax treatment around BTC and capital gains is an obstacle to adoption because of the accounting burden it places on companies for small transactions.

The progress hasn’t been without setbacks. In December of 2017, Steam, a popular distribution platform for video games, stopped accepting Bitcoin because of high fees and volatility. Amazon-owned Twitch ditched Bitcoin payments this March because of “lack of demand.”

Yet, crypto as a method of payment is still trending towards more widespread acceptance. Innovations that reduce fees and latency, such as Lightning Network, and progress from payment processors such as Coinbase Commerce, BitPay, and Flexa, make crypto an increasingly desirable method of payment.

Cryptocurrency has the potential to offer lower transaction fees and reduce the number of chargebacks merchants experience. In conjunction with acting as an effective marketing tool for engaging the crypto community, Bitcoin and other coins have the potential to gain traction against the established credit card industry.

Given the trend, it is likely that other major corporations will begin accepting crypto for payment.

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Mitchell Moos
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Mitchell Moos

Contributing Analyst @ CryptoSlate

Mitchell is a software enthusiast and entrepreneur. His first startup built algorithms for optimizing cryptocurrency mining. Prior to CryptoSlate, Mitchell was a project manager at a firm that built distributed software on Hyperledger. In his spare time he loves playing chess and hiking.

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