WordPress has just announced a new way for users to pay for upgrades regardless of where they're located or what payment restrictions may be in place: Bitcoin. Now those located in places where PayPal blocks access, or for those whose credit card companies are finicky, can trade in their local currency for some digital funds instead. A BTC payment option has been added to the system, and when used, displays cost in the digital currency rather than the traditional option.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows individuals anywhere to pay for items via the Bitcoin system (anywhere the currency is accepted, that is). The currency can be acquired by trading local currency in exchange for the digital option, by participating in a mining pool, selling items in exchange for BTC, or acquiring them through another individual. The system uses peer-to-peer technology, and does not have a central authority.
WordPress's Bitcoin payments are processed by BitPay.com, which is responsible for dealing with exchange rates and pricing. Not all products include a Bitcoin option, however, and users who already have an account credit will not get a Bitcoin option due to "technical complications." According to the announcement, all available purchases should have a BTC payment option in "two or three months."
Says WordPress, "PayPal alone blocks access from over 60 countries, and many credit card companies have similar restrictions ... Whatever the reason, we don’t think an individual blogger from Haiti, Ethiopia, or Kenya should have diminished access to the blogosphere because of payment issues they can’t control. Our goal is to enable people, not block them."