In response to yesterday’s speculations about Baidu accepting bitcoins, the rumor is true and Baidu, Jiasule (“Baidu Accelerated”), cloud-based anti-DDOS service and content delivery network, has already started to accept bitcoins for payment.
The announcement is significant because, Baidu, which is the largest search engine in China (as well as offering an encyclopedia, movies and music), is the first well-known Chinese website to accept the digital currency. And even-though, the transaction is to be done manually (with a phone number featured as the starting point for payment) and it is only this newly acquired subsidiary of Baidu’s that will be accepting bitcoin, the news is still rather exciting.
Jon Matonis, the executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, refers to Baidu’s decision as “encouraging news”. He explains that it was probably motivated by the fact that bitcoin has a reach of more than 60 countries that are not reached by Mastercard, PayPal and VISA. He also adds: “I am confident that as more companies see the benefits of frictionless payments with low fees, immediate settlement, and zero chargebacks, they will want to accept bitcoin simply to remain competitive.
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In terms of the status of bitcoin generally, there are, according to Bitcoin Magazine, around 10 listed bitcoin exchanges in China with the biggets of them, BTCChina trading almost as much volume as the large US exchanges such as MtGox or Bitstamp. The online magazine reports that in April, China became the first country to surpass the United States in Bitcoin-Qt software downloads and is currenty at number two. Bitcoin was also discussed on Chinese state television, where it was referred to “in a surprisingly positive light”. This being said, the government has neither commented on the digital currency nor discussed plans for regulation.
CoinDesk reports BTCChina’s CEO, Bobby Lee’s take: “For the first time in human history, bitcoin has allowed people to save and defer purchasing power, in a digital form. The Chinese people love this concept! It explains bitcoin’s fast adoption in China this year – 2013 has been a breakout year for bitcoin, and even more so in China