DISH Embraces Bitcoin Payment Programs

DISH customers can now use bitcoin to pay their monthly TV bills. The Colorado-based company went live with its bitcoin payments program today as part of its previously announced third-quarter rollout. The first customers to pay for DISH services using bitcoin are Austin and Beccy Craig. The American couple have famously chronicled their attempts to live using only digital currency on their Life on Bitcoin blog.

DISH head of corporate communications John Hall framed the news as part of the company’s overarching goal to embrace innovation: “DISH has always been about investing in better customer experience, whether that’s changing the way that we watch TV or the way that we bill.”

Hall said the company’s bitcoin payment option will now be visible to those using its online My DISH accounts and its Hopper HD DVR devices. “You can actually go into an app within the Hopper and pay your bill, and now if you choose bitcoin, it will come [up] with a QR code that you can pay right on your TV screen,” Hall added.

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DISH will accept payments through bitcoin merchant processor Coinbase. One of the first customers, Beccy Craig told CoinDesk that, while she was previously been a DISH customer, she’s looking forward to resuming the service now that she can make monthly payments in bitcoin. Austin Craig added: “We had a lot of time to read books and take hikes, but there were not very many luxuries like DISH.”

While TV may have been off limits at the time, the couple did have some success stretching the limits of what was available for purchase with bitcoin, even booking airline travel and hotel stays. The couple’s adventure is due to be chronicled as part of the as-yet unreleased ‘Life on Bitcoin’ documentary. As of June, the project was in the process of being submitted to at least one major film festival.

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Dell expects a small number of new subscribers as a result of the payment option, but that the amount of these customers will increase over time. DISH is currently the second-largest bitcoin-accepting business by annual revenue, earning $13.9m a year.

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