This is particularly exciting not only because an alternative currency is rapidly gaining online payment market share, but because the non-political, borderless nature of Bitcoin is being recognized and openly appreciated.
In fact these are among WordPress.com’s stated reasons for accepting the cryptocurrency. “Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network.”
In his press release WordPress.com’s Andy Skelton gives the reasons for the change in payment options…
“At WordPress.com, our mission is making publishing democratic — accessible and easy for anyone, anywhere. And while anyone can start a free blog here, not everyone can access upgrades (like going ad-free or enabling custom design) because of limits on traditional payment networks.
Today, that changes: you can now buy WordPress.com upgrades with bitcoins.
PayPal alone blocks access from over 60 countries, and many credit card companies have similar restrictions. Some are blocked for political reasons, some because of higher fraud rates, and some for other financial reasons. 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.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that enables instant payments over the internet. Unlike credit cards and PayPal, Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network. Merchants who accept Bitcoin payments can do business with anyone.” (emphasis mine)
In a blog post covering this news, BitInstant’s Erik Voorhees understands the importance of this news. He writes…
“My heart skipped a beat when I read that. They get it.”
“This has profound consequences for Bitcoin’s reputation.
While those who deeply understand the value of individual liberty have had little problem seeing the virtue of a decentralized, non-state monetary system, many shortsighted observers have focused only on the more salacious aspects of its use, discrediting it as such.”
I hope that this move by WordPress.com will pave the way for these and other organizations to also adopt alternative payment methods. Because, as Erik put it, “Bitcoin will be increasingly understood as a tool for human liberty (rightly so). And indeed, if one understands how money works in our world, it is by far the best tool for human liberty since the Internet itself”