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Dish Network to Become Largest U.S. Company to Accept Bitcoin

"Certainly lends credibility to the currency."

Dish Network Corp. customers will be the first large customer base that can start paying their bills with the digital currency bitcoin by the end of the summer.

Dish, a direct-broadcast satellite service provider, announced Thursday that the company will be the first subscription model, pay-TV provider to offer the bitcoin payment structure. The company statement said Dish will begin accepting bitcoin payments from customers starting in the third quarter.

bitcoin Dish Network Corp. will begin accepting bitcoin payments for their services. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Dish is the largest U.S. company to agree to accept the digital currency as payment for their services. As of November 2013, the company provided services to just over 14 million subscribers and has approximately 34,000 employees.

The announcement offers a legitimacy boost for both bitcoin and the selected currency exchange, Coinbase, that will handle all of the customer transactions for Dish.

"Coinbase will help DISH make the payment experience easy for our customers and make it easy for DISH to receive immediate credit in dollars, at an attractive cost for DISH,” Bernie Han, DISH executive vice president and chief operating officer, said.

The transaction stirred attention on twitter, from Blockchain, the largest tracking site for the mining of the digital currency.

The currency has its supporters despite several setbacks in the last several months, including the FBI silk road shutdown in October 2013 down and the Mt. Gox exchange collapse, which lost millions for bitcoin believers. Technology venture capitalists continue to pour money into bitcoin exhanges with the belief that widespread acceptance of bitcoin will come from regulatory certainty, a strong infrastructure, and broader usage by vendors, banks, and consumers, according to Forbes.

"This Dish decision certainly lends credibility to the currency and, perhaps even more importantly, to the processing platforms," a Washington, D.C.-based financial consultant, told TheBlaze. "We invested in bitcoin months ago, and don't plan to turn back anytime soon."

Dish customers who prefer to either ignore bitcoin completely or simply dislike the idea of paying for their entertainment bills with a currency which at times has been valued higher than gold will still have the option to make any payment online via credit card, debit card or bank account.

For a quick reminder of what bitcoin is, check out the video below.

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(H/T: Wall Street Journal)

Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter. 

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