Newegg is latest big retailer to accept bitcoin

Online electronics seller Newegg announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with payment processor Bitpay to let its more than 25 million customers pay with bitcoin. The company, which sells items like computers and game consoles, joins other big retailers like Expedia and Overstock, which have also given the thumbs-up to the virtual currency.

Newegg, which also sells a variety of bitcoin mining equipment, says customers can now pay via QR codes on their phones or by entering information about their bitcoin wallet address. The company adds that it will also be able to handle refunds with what it describes as the “most powerful bitcoin API in the industry.”

The news is another symbolic vote of confidence for bitcoin and for Bitpay, which is now reportedly processing transactions for over 35,000 merchants, but it remains to be seen how much — if it all — Newegg will lead more people to embrace bitcoin as a payment method.

While bitcoin is elegant in theory, and offers merchants cheaper payment processing fees than credit cards, its relative complexity means ordinary consumers have so far been slow to adopt it. However, advocates for the virtual currency, like venture capitalist Chris Dixon, suggest that bitcoin is part of a larger revolution in internet-based payment platforms.