BitPay, a company that allows merchants to use bitcoin, has reported a spike in transactions this year.
The company has processed more than $100 million in transactions this year, and its membership now includes more than 15,500 merchants in 200 countries. The number of merchants has increased by more than 50%, while transaction volume has tripled since the creation of the All Inclusive Pricing Plan in October and the integration with Shopify in November.
The digital currency's rise, covered by sister publication DSN last month, has lately attracted significant attention from brick-and-mortar and online merchants and investors. But many experts remain skeptical as to whether it is viable as a currency due to its extreme volatility, marked by tremendous growth in its price followed by a catastrophic fall whenever there's bad news about it. Recent events like the Central Bank of China's decision to forbid its use by financial companies and the arrest of Ross Ulbricht, who allegedly operated the online drug marketplace Silk Road, have caused large crashes in its value, and security issues have led to millions of dollars in bitcoins being stolen by hackers. One bitcoin was worth about $880 in mid-afternoon trading Wednesday, according to the online exchange Mt. Gox.