Want to plow your digital fields for a penny, or drop a dollar into a virtual slot machine? 

Video thumbnail for youtube video Big Fish reeling in more casino gamers with high stakes TV spotToday, Seattle-based Big Fish said it has begun accepting Bitcoin to make small in-app transactions more profitable. The announcement comes two months after social gaming giant Zynga started trialing the alternative currency.

Gaming is considered an ideal industry for Bitcoin because often times the price of virtual goods is so small, accepting credit cards is impractical because of steep fees. 

“Bitcoin is a good fit for the social gaming industry due to the high transaction costs experienced online,” writes Daniel Friedberg, principal at Riddell Williams, a Seattle-based law firm that specializes in payments. “Want to pay a customer a referral fee of 10 cents? It can be done with Bitcoin without any transaction cost.”

Big Fish will be using Coinbase, a Bitcoin wallet backed by Andreessen Horowitz,  to immediately turn the currency into dollars. Coinbase charges 1 percent of the sale to make the conversion, with the first $1 million in transactions being free. (In comparison, it took Overstock.com two months to hit more than $1 million in products sold using bitcoin.)

“Base fees on credit cards can take 15 percent or more of small purchases on the Internet,” said Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase’s co-founder, in a release. “Big Fish not only wanted to have an alternative and less costly form of payment.”

Big Fish said players can now purchase all of its online games and some in-app purchases for its free-to-play games using Bitcoin. In January, Zynga was working with BitPay, a bitcoin payments company, to accept the currency in a handful of its games.

Comments

  • Joe McGrath

    “Gaming is considered an ideal industry for Bitcoin because often times the price of virtual goods is so small, accepting credit cards is impractical because of steep fees.”
    Huh. While there are differences, it appears this publication has changed its tune from the time of Xbox points (which, I admit, are not refundable so different, but the reason they charged in higher increments than what virtual goods cost was to decrease credit card fees which this site never talked about).

  • Mike_Acker

    …..it seems there is a definite possibility that digital currency could break the plastic card cabal’s feast of fees. in a p2p environment we just don’t need to pay some outfit to process transactions for us
    the digital currency people have a lot to learn about money though before they can make something work. there are various types of money: commodity, fiduciary, fiat, and credit. to make fiat or credit work you need to power of courts and police from government. for fiduciary you must reliably redeem your notes in specie;

    i don’t see people valuing digital currency as a commodity which seems to be the basis on which the concept is supposed to operate as “bitcoins” or currency units are derived by “mining ”

    they have a great idea; it just needs work and I don’t see which way they need to go.

  • Guest

    This is great news! Moving to Bitcoin also cuts out Visa and Mastercard from their roles as moral guardians. They don’t permit me to use my credit card to gamble, for example, for no good reason. Bitcoin has no moral compass: it is wealth, pure and unencumbered.

    Thank you, Big Fish, for joining the real world.

    • balls187

      I thought the reason that Visa and MC disallowed gambling was because people could easily rack up HIGH amounts of credit card debt, leading to increased defaults, and chargebacks.
      Considering you can pretty much pay for any depraved website with a credit card, it stands to reason that prohibiting gambling is not a moral decision, but a financial one.

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