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Belgian Telecom Becomes First To Accept Bitcoin

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  • by Optimal Cynic (2886377) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:14PM (#45754793)

    Could this be the tipping point for both BitCoin and payment by mobile phone?"

    No. Hopefully this particular hopeful news article questioning doesn't last as long as the "Is this the year of Linux on the desktop?" one.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:22PM (#45754857) Journal
    You can't generally set a value for something of worth in bitcoin, because its value changes too much... sometimes even from one day to the next. The only way to manage it at all is to always deal in x dollars worth of bitcoin, in which case the dollar is still the currency being used.
    • Re:Too unstable (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:32PM (#45754925) Homepage Journal
      x currency worth of bitcoins. There are other countries out there with their own currencies
      • by mark-t (151149)
        Fair enough... I apologize profusely for my lack of global inclusion.
      • x currency worth of bitcoins. There are other countries out there with their own currenciesAre there? Generally speaking, Americans don't seem to be aware of the fact. Or care, if they are.

        • by easyTree (1042254)

          I saw a snippet of a documentary on TV years ago (before I removed it from the house) which revealed that a survey had highlighted that fifty percent of Americans don't know that there *are* other countries!

          • by GNious (953874)

            I assume that was before the US went on an invasion-spree....?

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            I get that if you ask them if "Paris" is a country they might say "yes" but if they watch TV they must at least know the "enemy" countries - Iran, Iraq, Russia, China...etc.

    • Like almost all online merchants who accept Bitcoin, they set their price in euros or dollars and the price in BTC is calculated at the moment of sale. Mobile Vikings uses BitPay [bitpay.com] as a payment processor who offers this service, another one is Coinbase [coinbase.com].

      • by vinehair (1937606)
        This kind of service doesn't help at all with future planning of finances, as would what you'd expect with a mobile phone plan. Sure, these services help with the immediate case, but if I have a recurring payment of $20, say, every month, what good is that to me if XBT have just tanked yet again and I have less than half in my wallet than I had planned for? The stability is the biggest (one of the only?) problems left with bitcoin to solve before it could see wider use, and this right now is just a novelt
        • This kind of service doesn't help at all with future planning of finances, as would what you'd expect with a mobile phone plan. Sure, these services help with the immediate case, but if I have a recurring payment of $20, say, every month, what good is that to me if XBT have just tanked yet again and I have less than half in my wallet than I had planned for?

          The stability is the biggest (one of the only?) problems left with bitcoin to solve before it could see wider use, and this right now is just a novelty way to pay the odd bill or two for a slim margin of customers, from a company that has made its name with similar novel marketing tactics.

          Indeed... now people in Belgium can pretend they're living in Venezuela, where people pay in bolivars indexed against the item's value in USD.

        • by Smauler (915644)

          This kind of service doesn't help at all with future planning of finances

          No, and everyone who uses bitcoin knows that its value is not stable. Anyone who agrees to a contract based on bitcoin and only bitcoin deserves what they get. This is a strawman, since no one is advocating bitcoin being used for future planning of finances.

          FTFA : "Payments can be used to top up credit or to buy new SIM cards and gift vouchers." This is not a contract. Bitcoin is not a serious alternative to the more stable curre

        • The complete pipeline is:
          You get bitcoin with the method of your choosing for your payment, send the bitcoins to Viking telecom, who'll then convert them back into local currency (apparently using bitpay to turn them into euros)

          Given the current volatility of bitcoin, nobody is holding a big amount of bitcoins, but mostly buying/selling them on a "need" basis.
          Don't see them as a currency, see them as a method for money exchange.

          Now for the particular advantage of bitcoins:

          If you live in a foreign country (b

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          if I have a recurring payment of $20, say, every month, what good is that to me if XBT have just tanked yet again and I have less than half in my wallet than I had planned for?

          Ah, but that's not *their* problem, is it?

          There's no downside from their point of view so long as some idiot is willing to instantly convert them to real money as you pay.

          The press will publish anything with "Bitcoin" in the name at the moment, this press release is just free publicity for them.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      You can't generally set a value for something of worth in bitcoin, because its value changes too much... sometimes even from one day to the next. The only way to manage it at all is to always deal in x dollars worth of bitcoin, in which case the dollar is still the currency being used.

      You can. You simply fix the rate of Bitcoins to whatever the local currency you want is for that billing period.

      E.g., let's say the past 30 days, bitcoin had a high of $1200 USD to a low of $200 USD and is currently $500 USD,

  • I suspect any time a company/Richard Branson makes a press release validating Bitcoin, they are actually invested in Bitcoin at that moment and hoping to ride the bump of their own news before dumping the stuff. This might also apply to the press.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I suspect any time a company/Richard Branson makes a press release validating Bitcoin, they are actually invested in Bitcoin at that moment and hoping to ride the bump of their own news before dumping the stuff. This might also apply to the press.

      It's also a load of free publicity for them because the press (and slashdot) will print anything with "Bitcoin" in the name.

      Accepting Bitcoin as payment isn't a problem if you instantly exchange it for real money. The problem is in keeping Bitcoin around hoping to buy stuff with it in the future.

      eg. Would you accept your monthly wages in Bitcoins at the going exchange rate when the bank transfer is made...? Didn't think so.

  • Slashdot continuing its trend of giving away free front-page adverts for trendy companies that are starting some random scheme that is vaguely tech-related, but wildly impractical (like most advertising-centric schemes are.)
  • by De Lemming (227104) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:51PM (#45755083) Homepage

    I'm a happy Mobile Vikings customer for almost two years now, and I applaud their move to accept Bitcoin. I will be using this option from now on.

    Mobile Vikings are a small, tech oriented operator. Like several small operators in Belgium they use the cell tower network of one of the 3 big operators. MV were the first in Belgium to offer a decent plan for mobile data usage, a 15 € per month prepaid formula with 2 GB data included, while other operators where still billing (a lot) per MB used. When a lot of customers switched, this forced the big operators to offer similar plans (although they still cost more).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Stupid belgians! Bitcoin is a ponzi scheme! A pyramid!
  • Perhaps not mobile, but namecheap accepts BTC.
  • by bstarrfield (761726) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @04:56PM (#45755911)

    I.E. They're accepting BitCoins as a commodity, not a currency via real time exchange rate, and I wonder who pays the transaction costs for the currency exchange.

    BitCoin's wild fluctuations - a result of little to no liquidity, and half of all BitCoins in circulation being owned by less than a 1,000 people - make it impractical or downright foolish to post fixed prices.

  • This is nothing more than a publicity stunt. There's no non-cumbersome way to set prices in bitcoin, as its price flunctuates wildly.

  • by Moskit (32486) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @06:52PM (#45756597)

    Belgian Telecom is one company.
    Mobile Vikings is another company.

    Title is confusing, editors did not do a proper job there.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Can't blame the editors for not being fully up-to-date with Belgium's telecom landscape. Especially not when some company decides to call themselves "Belgian Telecom", simply inviting confusion. It's quite normal to say "that company is a Belgian telecom company" as it is normal to call a company an "American telecom company" or so.

      That said I was not for any second confused. Most of the world will not know about that company named "Belgian Telecom", and not be confused. Possibly a large part of Belgians is

      • by Moskit (32486)

        _Can_ blame editors for not being up to date with English though. Editors are people supposed to make sure the summary is not confusing, and paid for that.

        It was enough to title story "A Belgian Telecom..." (which implies one of many Belgian telecom companies) instead of "Belgian Telecom" (which is a specific company, Belgian Telecom).

        Telecom name is also not confusing by far. In European countries telecom providers held monopoly for a long time, and such companies were simply called "Belgian Telecom", "Deu

    • by GNious (953874)

      Does it matter? Telecoms, like public transit and other activities, is an area where Belgians are, beyond question, incompetent to a degree that you'd be inclined to argue must be due to malice....

      • by Moskit (32486)

        It does matter.

        Last time I was in Belgium Telecom, public transport and other activities (brewing real beer) were handled competently. I am inclined to argue that your comment must be due to malice...

        • by GNious (953874)

          Public Transport:
          * Weekly delays on trains (I took a train to work daily for some years)
          * City-busses not showing up when going to/from schools (supposedly runs every 6-8 minutes - 40 minutes without any busses)
          * Ticketing system that several times has required using 2 tickets to open the new gates
          * Gates at metro-station refusing to let people out, or slammed shut on an old woman (employees ignored the incident)
          * Semi-regular cancellations or closed stations on metro

          Phones:
          * Belgacom spending 1.5 month rep

          • by Moskit (32486)

            Things seem to have really gone down since my experiences then.

            As I look at your list though, it looks familiar though. Almost as if modern systems get too complicated to operate nominally.

  • the fall of bitcoin has already started, it will be regulated, taxed in some places and banned into oblivion in others. the big sell-off is coming soon.

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.

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