Bitcoin has just taken another big step toward mainstream acceptance and usability with the announcement that DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) will allow subscribers to pay their bills with the digital currency starting next quarter. As a Fortune 200 company with more than 14 million subscribers, Dish is now the largest company to accept Bitcoin payments.
Customers may pay with Bitcoin, but DISH wants dollars
“We always want to deliver choice and convenience for our customers and that includes the method they use to pay their bills,” said DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) executive vice president and chief operating officer Bernie Han in a statement. “Bitcoin is becoming a preferred way for some people to transact and we want to accommodate those individuals.”
Just because DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) customers can pay with Bitcoins, doesn’t mean the company is interested in holding the digital currency for itself. Coinbase is going to handle all Bitcoin transactions for DISH and will credit dollars to its account. From DISH’s point of view, Bitcoins are just another payment method that ultimately puts dollars into their hands. If it keeps customers happy and lets them save money on transaction fees compared to Visa and MasterCard then the new policy doesn’t have any obvious drawbacks.
Wider use and lower volatility go hand in hand
One of the fault lines that divides Bitcoin bulls and bears is whether the new technology is seen as a payment system or an actual currency in its own right. In this case, DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) isn’t looking at Bitcoin as a store of value, but the announcement is still good news for anyone who believes otherwise. Since Bitcoin is inherently deflationary, speculators don’t have to worry about some central authority devaluing their holdings.
“The more interesting thing is that the volatility is going down,” says Coin.co founder Max Raskin in an interview with Betty Liu on In The Loop. “It’s been in this $450 to $550 range for a while, which is comforting to businesses because they see some stability.”
That’s still an enormous range compared to hard currencies, but it could be a sign of progress. Raskin attributes the decline in volatility to an uptick in the number of people using Bitcoin. If he’s correct then persuading other large companies like DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) to get involved should pull the volatility down even further. Creating a beneficial feedback loop of wider use and falling volatility could be the key to bringing Bitcoin into mainstream use.