Automattic, the company behind blogging platform WordPress.com ,has decided it will accept payment for some services through Bitcoin, the controversial open source currency.
Wordpress is proudly free, but Automattic offers some paid services like custom design. Those services, code wrangler Amdy Skelton says in a blog post, aren't available to everyone because of “because of limits on traditional payment networks” such as the fact that “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,” Skelton adds.
Bitpay.com is Automattic's bit bank of choice.
Intriguingly, the company will offer Bitcoin payments without waiting for 'confirmations', a method Bitcoin uses to verify transactions that relies on other participants in the Bitcoin network recording the transaction and passing news of it to other participants. Many services insist on multiple confirmations before allowing a transaction, but as Skelton's post notes that takes time and makes for a less-than-satisfying experience.
“Making you wait for confirmations would virtually eliminate our risk,” Skelton writes, “but we’re confident that with digital products like ours the risk is already acceptably low.” That's presumably because if a transaction goes sour, Automattic can simply tick the box to withdraw the upgrade that it has been 'paid' for.
Automattic will also work around another Bitcoin feature, namely its dislike of issuing refunds.
“If a refund is granted on a purchase made with BTC we will work with BitPay to issue a refund in BTC,” Skelton writes. ®