Have you got piles of virtual cash but perhaps not quite enough to pay for a Virgin Galactic space flight? Well, now leading UK PC hardware and 3XS system retailer Scan Computers will accept your digital coinage to buy its techno goodies. This, as far as we can tell, makes Scan the first UK computer retailer to accept Bitcoin payments.
Scan announced the pioneering move on its website and in a Facebook post today, however in its blog post, explaining what Bitcoins are and how to spend them at Scan, it mentioned how Scan 3XS engineers have "designed systems specifically for mining an alternative virtual currency known as Litecoin". Nevertheless these virtual currencies can be traded between, I've just checked and the exchange rate seems to be around 39 Litecoins for one Bitcoin and one Bitcoin is worth a little under £500.
Talking to PCR-Online Scan's James Gorbold said that Bitcoin alternatives such as Litecoin are being considered for future acceptance. This would be a move that makes more sense as a supplier of Litecoin mining systems but wasn't likely to be as newsworthy as a Bitcoin yarn.
On the subject of accepting Bitcoins for payment Gorbold said "Scan likes to think of itself as a big innovator, and I believe we're the first retailer in the IT segment to offer this. We're excited about the potential of it. We don't want to follow the crowd, we want to push forward and offer new ideas." The popular UK PC retailer said that it had moved to accept Bitcoins now as "our customers want to spend Bitcoins, we want to embrace that and allow our customers to pay how they want to.’" Gorbold thought of Bitcoins as "the next logical step forward," in payment methods following from cash, to cheques, to bank cards and now virtual currency.
Buying your stuff from Scan using Bitcoins is facilitated at checkout by selecting a 'Complete order with Bitcoin' button. Scan then uses BitPay to complete the payment just as many retailers might use PayPal, Amazon Payments or Google Wallet. The buyer then transfers the Bitcoin amount to Scan using a QR code or wallet address and the payment is verified before the order completes. Further technicalities of the payment process can be read through here. Scan also details what happens if you cancel orders or want to get a refund.
For your reference, a couple of days ago the NASDAQ news agency published a list of other merchants where you can currently buy goods and services using Bitcoins.