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Wordpress now accepts payment in Bitcoin

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The social news giant Reddit made news this week for considering Bitcoin as a form of payment for Reddit gold, a premium service packed with a small set of new features.

Now Wordpress, which hosts 57 million blogs worldwide, is the latest company to embrace the hard-to-trace digital currency that’s known for hiding illegal activity and being susceptible to theft, but also provides an online payment option in countries where more mainstream alternatives aren’t available.

Wordpress.com, a free blogging service built on Wordpress’ open source software, will accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for features like blog upgrades and custom designs.

“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,” Wordpress.com wrote in a news release. “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.”

The march toward legitimacy for Bitcoin has been a slow one, but has recently picked up pace. In August, Charlie Shrem, cofounder of Bitcoin transfer service BitInstant, announced plans to create a debit card that functions in all the establishments that accept MasterCard. The debit cards will have your Bitcoin Address on the back and a QR code on the front so you can send coins directly to the card.

About a week ago, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, a long time fan of the digital currency, hinted that Bitcoins were being considered as a form of payment for Reddit gold in a comment made in the r/bitcoin subreddit.

“Yeah, I've been a longtime subscriber to /r/bitcoin and had done a lot of investigation into BTC quite a bit about a year ago before I took the reddit job (on my own, as a subject of interest),” Wong wrote as first reported by BetaBeat. “So - no promises, but we're looking into it.”

Over the last six months, Bitcoins have been used regularly on Reddit’s r/GirlsGoneBitcoin/, a forum where women dash their Bitcoin addresses in marker across parts of their bodies in hopes of men or women paying to see them naked. In that same time period, the forum has more than doubled its subscribers, from 700 to more than 1,600.

It is that sort of growth that has spooked the FBI.  In a report leaked to the Internet in May, the intelligence agency expressed concern over the currency’s ability to facilitate the distribution of weapons and narcotics and embolden cyber criminals. Sellers on Silk Road, an online drug marketplace that trades in Bitcoin, reportedly bring in $2 million each month.

Photo by zcopley/Flickr