Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) stock and its business moved in contrasting directions last year. While the stock surged about 63% in 2013, its business continued to struggle due to the lack of new and exciting games. The online gaming landscape has become fiercely competitive, and shelf life of games have fallen. As a result, the San Francisco-based gaming company has seen a 50% decline in the number of daily active users over the past 12 months. Even active users have started spending less time on its games.

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Zynga now accepts Bitcoin payments

What drove Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s stock last year was its cost cutting and turnaround efforts. The company has slashed its workforce, shut down more than a dozen unprofitable games, and has leased some of its unused office space to other companies. Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has also been shifting its focus to mobile gaming, which really helped the company. Recently, the company started accepting bitcoin as payment. Users can now purchase in-game assets and upgrades using the virtual currency.

Before the company decided to accept bitcoins, customers only had the option to buy in-game assets and upgrades with their debit/credit cards and PayPal. However, theft and fraud are major concerns when it comes to online payments. Many users are reluctant to share their debit/credit card information online due to concerns over fraud and theft. And the recent credit card data breach at Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) has only added fuel to their worries. Although online payment has seen immense growth despite these security threats, users are more likely to use a safer option, if available, to make online purchases. Bitcoins are ideal in this regard.

Bitcoin and Zynga have similar user demographics

Statistics show that Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and bitcoin customers share demographic characteristics. Most Zynga and bitcoin users fall into the 25-40 age group, and are tech-savvy with average income. More and more businesses have started accepting the virtual currency such as WordPress, OKCupid, Reddit and Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK). If bitcoin continues to grow at the same pace, this will improve the odds that it will become a popular mode of payment for Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) customers. This would be beneficial for both Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and bitcoin.

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares closed Friday at $3.55, up 0.28%.