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