A digital currency alternative breaks through

While some are harkening to gold as a hedge against the breakdown of banknotes, another currency alternative, Bitcoin, just received a big leg up this week when a major software vendor started accepting payment using decentralized digital coins.

WordPress.com, the company that leads development of the world's most popular blogging system on the internet, announced on Thursday that it is now accepting payments with Bitcoins, probably the largest company to do so.

The company decided to accept Bitcoins since traditional payment systems were limiting its reach:

PayPal alone blocks access from over 60 countries, and many credit card companies have similar restrictions. Some are blocked for political reasons, some because of higher fraud rates, and some for other financial reasons. Whatever the reason, we don’t think an individual blogger from Haiti, Ethiopia, or Kenya should have diminished access to the blogosphere because of payment issues they can’t control. Our goal is to enable people, not block them.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that enables instant payments over the internet. Unlike credit cards and PayPal, Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network. Merchants who accept Bitcoin payments can do business with anyone.

Wired.com put together a good profile of Bitcoins and how it got ahead of itself a few years back.

As of August 2012 Bitcoin's total market cap at over 100 million US dollars.

Image from Wikepedia