Dish Network said Thursday that it is poised to become the largest company to accept bitcoin when it begins to accept the “cryptocurrency” for pay-TV subscriptions in the third quarter of 2014.
Dish, which is also positioned to become the first pay-TV provider to accept bitcoin, said it has selected Coinbase as its payment processor, which customers will use to conduct bitcoin transactions online. The Coinbase Instant Exchange feature turns bitcoin payments to U.S. dollars at the moment of transaction. Coinbase, founded in 2012 and backed by $31 million in funding, claims that it now “powers 1.3 million consumer wallets” and supports about 31,000 merchants. Others on board with Coinbase include Microsoft’s Bing, Square, TechCrunch, Overstock.com, the Chicago Sun-Times, Bloomberg, and the Sacramento Kings.
Dish said a bitcoin payment option will be offered to Dish subs choosing to make one-time payments at mydish.com starting in the third quarter. Customers will still have the option to pay online with credit cards, debit cards or from their bank accounts.
“We always want to deliver choice and convenience for our customers and that includes the method they use to pay their bills,” said Bernie Han, Dish EVP and CFO, in a statement. “Bitcoin is becoming a preferred way for some people to transact and we want to accommodate those individuals.”
Han noted Dish will be in a position to receive bitcoins-for-dollars “at an attractive cost for Dish,” but didn’t expand on those terms.
“This is a large step forward in the growing momentum of customers paying companies in bitcoin for things we do every day, like watching premium TV,” added Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam.
As of Thursday morning, the buy price for one bitcoin was of $567.02.
This video offers more details on the bank-free digital currency, which relies on peer-to-peer technology.