Twitch, the online streaming platform beloved by geeks and gamers from all over the world, started accepting Bitcoin, following an announcement made a few weeks ago. Bitcoin was just one of many payment options announced by Twitch.tv in their international push.
We can now take Bitcoin, PaySafeCard, and many more payment options for Twitch Turbo (channel subs soon™).
— Twitch (@Twitch) August 2, 2014
A Strategic Move
The growing success platform, which generates nearly 2% of the internet traffic in the United States, allows gamers to broadcast ("stream") their video games online and watch other players' streams. In July alone, the start-up founded just three years ago by Emmett Shear and Justin Kan, has attracted 55 million unique visitors for a total of 15 billion minutes of video watched (four and a half hours on average per person). Competitions that can attract hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world are regularly organized and re-transmitted live. Integrating Bitcoin payments is, therefore, a logical move, considering the intrinsically young and techie audience.
Thanks to the Bitcoin addition, Twitch users can now use Bitcoin to subscribe to the premium service « Twitch Turbo » and enjoy uninterrupted viewing, exclusive profile-personalizing options, and priority customer support. The primary reason for accepting all these new means of payment, including Bitcoin, is to reach the widest possible audience, especially in countries where credit card use is not particularly widespread. Twitch.tv extrapolated on this point in their blog post:
“But I live in Uganda,” you say. You can use Skrill, OKPAY, and more. “What about me in Brazil?” You can use MercadoPago, Fundos PagSeguro, and more!
The famous streaming platform teamed up with Xsolla, which partners with the American Bitcoin processor Coinbase, to handle Bitcoin payments. This detail is particularly important; indeed, beyond the handful of merchants who decide to accept Bitcoin by contracting directly with Coinbase/Bitpay or one of their competitors, most of the merchants are currently using a Payment Service Provider such as Xsolla or Shopify that allows them to add hundreds of means of payment in a few clicks and centralize all of their different transaction flows from different payment methods in a single area.
Given the number of merchants that are currently using these types of Payment Services Providers, the work of Bitcoin-evangelism among the latter is therefore especially important and bears often fruit, as shown in the recent partnership between GoCoin and Apriza, which brought the option of Bitcoin acceptance to over 1,000 merchants.
Amazon Owns Twitch.tv: Does Amazon Accept Bitcoin?
The move by Twitch predates the $970 Million acquisition of Twitch by Amazon a few days ago. This acquisition aroused great optimism in the conmmunity in the context of a possible extension of the acceptance of Bitcoin from Twitch.tv to Amazon. However, this irrational exuberance must be qualified by considering the following statement made weeks ago by the Amazon Payments head, Tom Taylor, who suggested that Bitcoin adoption isn't yet in the online retailer’s pipeline:
Obviously it gets a lot of press, and we have considered it, […] but we are not hearing from customers that it’s right for them and don’t have any plans within Amazon to engage bitcoin.
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