Previously, the service allowed users to pay for subscriptions by sending coins to a bitcoin donation address, but this process was complicated and required the support team to manually confirm each transaction. ProtonMail says the now-automated process was “long overdue.”
Users can also use bitcoin to pre-fund their accounts with credits for later use or to pay for premium-level subscriptions to ProtonVPN.
ProtonMail has a long history with bitcoin. In 2014, they launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to add new services to the platform. Without warning, PayPal suspended ProtonMail’s account and held their funds hostage, highlighting one of the many problems with centralized payment processors. However, the cryptocurrency community rallied to send ProtonMail bitcoin donations to help fund the project.
ProtonMail says that they foresee an uptick in the number of merchants who accept bitcoin:
We feel this is indicative of a broader trend, where the increased mainstream interest in Bitcoin will make it harder for merchants not to support Bitcoin, which will lead to more Bitcoin support, more transactions, and perhaps the continued appreciation of Bitcoin prices.
Diverging from many companies that accept bitcoin, the team plans to hold a “significant portion” of their revenue in cryptocurrencies to hedge against the failure of conventional payment methods.
Whereas companies in the past might have held multiple fiat currencies distributed cross multiple financial institutions as insurance, ProtonMail is now also holding a significant portion of our reserves in Bitcoin. Ultimately, we believe having a more significant portion of our revenue via Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies actually reduces our business risk, by providing more redundancy in the event of the failure of more traditional payment methods.
Online retailer Overstock has a similar strategy. They recently announced that they will now keep 50% of all cryptocurrency payments as investments.
Featured image from Shutterstock.