According to a Reddit post on the r/bitcoin subreddit, Microsoft has been polling its Xbox users about their payment preferences, and one of the options listed was Bitcoin.
The poll in question would help Microsoft determine whether users would be open to or prefer to pay for the Xbox gaming platform’s online store services with Bitcoin. It was in 2014 that the technology company first opened BTC payment options for its Windows apps and Xbox games. As Bitcoin fell out of the limelight, the program was subsequently deprecated.
Microsoft reportedly resumed acceptance of Bitcoin as a payment option early this year as the cryptocurrency bounced back to new all-time highs following an almost $30k close in December of 2020. According to the original poster, Redditor Jebusura, The poll was part of an Insider program for beta testing new builds of Windows, Microsoft’s proprietary operating system.
While other tech companies like Tesla and Square have bought in on Bitcoin and added the crypto asset on their respective balance sheets, Microsoft shows no clear signs of moving into position with crypto aside from passively accepting payments through one of its touchpoints.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, for one, does not seem too impressed with the alpha cryptocurrency. In a recent interview, the billionaire philanthropist and innovator said that Bitcoin’s environmental impact could be curbed by generating its energy sources from sustainable means. "Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind," Gates said, adding sardonically that "it's not a big climate thing."
While Gates no longer runs the day to day business of Microsoft, having left his post as board member last year, his impact to the company is lasting, and his current philanthropic efforts are laudable at best. Gates non-profit organization is known to have supported blockchain-based startups for medical efforts, in partnership with Korean medical technology research institutions. In 2017, the foundation also began a project called Level One, a blockchain-based payments ecosystem for financial inclusion in marginalized communities.
For Gates, while cryptocurrencies at present may be problematic on various grounds, the prospect of digitizing the financial system is inevitable. “If we were building a financial system from scratch today, we’d do it on a digital platform. Digital can lower the cost on a range of transactions by as much as 90%, providing nearly universal access to innovative financial products and services,” shared Gates.
To Gates’ mind, electronic currencies like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could change his made, if ecological and renewable sources are implemented. "If it's green electricity and it doesn't displace other uses, eventually, you know, maybe that's okay," Gates said.