Dell now accepts Bitcoin. The company blog introduces the big news by saying, “Now you can buy digital with digital – starting today, we’re accepting bitcoin on Dell.com.”
Dell.com will let consumers and small businesses shop online with Bitcoin. Dell is partnering with Coinbase for the integration.
In several metrics, Dell becomes the largest company to accept Bitcoin. They employ over 100,000 worldwide. Their net income was $2.3 billion on revenues of $56.94 billion in 2013.
Dell would have also been the 2nd most-valuable publicly traded company to accept Bitcoin had they not gone private last year. DISH, currently worth $30 billion, ranks first. Based on their buyout share price of $13.65 per share, the company’s total valuation is $24.4 billion.
The company is promoting the launch with a 10% discount off an Alienware system purchase when paying with Bitcoin, up to a maximum of $150 savings.
From concept to finish, the turnaround was rapid, especially when considering Dell’s size. Coinbase reportedly approached Dell about accepting Bitcoin several months ago. Dell only decided to go ahead with it two weeks ago, and went full steam ahead to launch in time for back to school shopping season. So they reached out back to Coinbase. Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase’s co-founder, commented:
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“We’ve fostered a close partnership with the Dell team and that’s been instrumental in getting the Coinbase integration up and running in such a short timeframe. We look forward to continuing to support the team as they explore other ways to offer even more functionality when it comes to bitcoin payments.”
The blog notes that technically, shoppers could have paid for merchandise indirectly with Bitcoin through a Gyft card. Coinbase’s integration is more direct and saves time.
Though bitcoins stored in any wallet can be used for purchases, Coinbase’s are highlighted and can come in useful. Regular refunds are sent via a USD cheque. Refunds for mispayments can only be issued to Coinbase account holders.
The blog notes that one way of acquiring bitcoins is through mining, which is carried out by Dell customer Bitcoin ASIC Hosting. They partnered with Dell “to provide a large scale and high density crypto-currency hosting facility available to the Bitcoin mining community.”
One would think that as Bitcoin acceptance becomes commonplace even amongst the most prominent tech giants, other major retailers following suit is only a matter of time. Gil Luria, analyst with Wedbush Securities, commented, “If you’re a retailer, there’s really no reason not to accept Bitcoin at this point.”
The news has not moved Bitcoin prices, which have been flat over the past 48 hours on thin volume.