On Friday, Michael Dell, CEO of Austin-based Dell Inc., announced on twitter that Dell.com is now accepting Bitcoin as a direct payment option for consumers and small businesses in the U.S. Other major companies, such as Overstock and Expedia, began accepting Bitcoin earlier this year and have reported favorable results, including that a majority of Bitcoin purchases were made by brand new customers. To offer Bitcoin as a payment option, Dell partnered with Coinbase, a U.S.-based Bitcoin exchange and payment processor. Dell's terms and conditions highlight one of Bitcoin's unique characteristics, i.e., that once you initiate a Bitcoin transaction, you cannot change or cancel it. Dell does, however, offer a limited refund process that requires a Coinbase account or remittance of a check in U.S. dollars, depending on the circumstances.
Austin has become a hub of Bitcoin activity. Several emerging Bitcoin-focused companies, such as CoinTerra and Cloudhashing, are located in Austin, and, in February, Robocoin installed the first U.S.-based Bitcoin ATM in a popular bar in downtown Austin.