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European retailers are slowly embracing bitcoins

It seems the bitcoin is here to stay. More people are getting familiar with the virtual currency and an increasing number of online stores now accept bitcoin as a valid payment method. Here in Europe we’ve noticed this as well, as we’ve seen several online retailers change their websites and online payment options.

For those who don’t know (where have you been all that time?!) there’s a new coin in town. It’s called bitcoin and it’s different than all the other coins you might have been using in your life. For starters, there’s no banks or governments involved. This peer-to-peer digital currency is decentralized and uses cryptography to control all transactions and to prevent double-spending. If you want to know more about the bitcoin and how it works, you should check out its website or read the Wikipedia article about it.

2013, year of the bitcoin?
Although the bitcoin is active since 2009, it’s actually since this year the coin is really getting all the press coverage. And thanks to this, more people are getting interested in owning some coins, which has its effect on the exchange rate. Another side effect of the increasing media attention is that companies are now eager to implement bitcoins in their online store, while hoping the media will pick this up and write about them.

Although it’s unclear if this is the main reason to implement bitcoins, it’s a fact more and more online stores are now accepting this currency. For example, Dutch company Takeaway.com (owner of the largest food-ordersite in the Netherlands) has announced it’s now possible to order a pizza online via its site while paying solely with bitcoins.

Online stores accepting bitcoins
And there are more European online stores accepting bitcoins. For example, Olakids.de. This retailer sells clothing and accessories for kids and you can choose how you want to pay: with euros or with bitcoins. The UK online store CoolVape sells electronic cigarettes, e-liquid and accessories and its customers can pay with bitcoins. The same for Belgian webshop Belgian Flavours offers the same service.

But it’s not only online merchants that have embraced the bitcoin, there are also some shopping cart software companies that started to accept the cryptocoin as a valid way to pay online. Dutch company Shoppagina is one of them. They currently have about 1500 online merchants using their shopping cart software and these merchants can now let their customers pay with bitcoins.

French company Prestashop also makes it possible for their clients to offer a bitcoin payment method. In January of this year Mt. Gox, one of world’s biggest bitcoin trading sites, announced the official launch of a Mt. Gox merchant plug-in dedicated to Prestashop. It’s free, but also allows merchants to accept any payment in bitcoin, free of fees.

BitPay, a bitcoin payment processor, has released several open source BitPay plugins for shopping cart software like Magento, OpenCart, Zen Cart, VirtueMart, osCommerce, WooCommerce, WP e-Commerce and the aforementioned Prestashop. Altogether, it is clear for us there’s room for a virtual currency. But whether that will be the bitcoin or another virtual coin, that’s something we will have to wait for to see what happens…

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