Because giant companies like to be very late to bad parties, Dish has decided to start accepting Bitcoin payments. So now you can pay for your shaky satellite TV service with a volatile, partially flopped payment system.
Dish picked an odd time to get into the Bitcoin game as the currency's glory days are far behind it. Its major exchange collapsed, its pricing is volatile, hackers have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the stuff, and regulators don't trust it.
Mt. Gox, the leading Bitcoin exchange, is in the process of being liquidated due to bankruptcy (primarily due to a hack the company experienced in February.) Aiming for a safe and easy processor, Dish settled on Coinbase as their payment system. Coinbase will instantly convert the coins to cash, so Dish won't be hit with pricing fluctuations (or disappearing coins.) Compared to other payment processors, they have lower fees.
As for pricing, Bitcoins are substantially down from their peak. Right now, the price is at $560, which is up about 65 percent from April when Bitcoin reached a recent low of $360. Still, it is a far cry from its heyday of $1,000 and up. One of Dish's more popular and inclusive packages is $79.99 per month. Coinbase's current sell price is $570.60, so your monthly bill is around 0.14 Bitcoin.
The idea came to Dish COO Bernie Han from employees who are avid Bitcoin users, though he is unsure what the customer demand will be for the payment system.
Bitcoin just will not go away.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.