The change, to begin in Q3, will make Dish Network the largest company that accepts the controversial virtual currency it says this morning. Subscribers can make one-time bitcoin payments on mydish.com. The No. 2 satellite company will process payments via Coinbase, whose Instant Exchange will translate the amounts into U.S. dollars based on the exchange rate when the transaction takes place. Subscribers can pay with whatever bitcoin wallet they choose. Critics say that the digital currency is too subject to abuse, including by criminals who want to launder their funds. The SEC recently warned that users may be targeted by “fraudsters and promoters of high-risk investment schemes.” But the IRS also classified bitcoins as a capital asset, making them subject to capital gains taxes. “Bitcoin is becoming a preferred way for some people to transact and we want to accommodate those individuals,” says Dish COO Bernie Han. Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam calls Dish’s decision “a large step forward in the growing momentum of customers paying companies in bitcoin for things we do every day, like watching premium TV.” Dish notes that subscribers still can make online payments in dollars from a credit card, debit card or bank account.
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