Gigaom’s Derrick Harris said last year that Dell, upon going private, “should let its freak flag fly and take some real risks to distinguish itself from the service-vendor pack.” Bitcoin wasn’t on Derrick’s list of ideas for Dell, but Friday’s announcement that the computer giant has partnered with Coinbase to start accepting the cryptocurrency does show how the new, private Dell is starting to wave its freak flag and open up to change.
“We’re really excited to offer bitcoin as a payment option to our customers who are on the forefront of using this digital currency for their technology purchase needs,” said Paul Walsh, CIO of Dell’s commerce services, in an e-mailed statement. “Partnering with Coinbase to implement this solution in 14 days is a prime example of the new, more agile Dell.”
By accepting bitcoin, Dell, with its nearly $57 billion in annual revenue, becomes the largest retailer on board with the cryptocurrency. Technically, it’s been possible for awhile to use bitcoin to buy Dell gift cards through Gyft, but this saves the work around and means Dell is on team bitcoin.
It also means another big get for bitcoin payment processor Coinbase, which installed the system in just two weeks, according to its blog post. Dell has about four times the revenue of Dish Network, which previously held the record as largest bitcoin company and was also a Coinbase customer. Coinbase has been on a since it signed up Expedia in June and was added as a second option for Shopify merchants like Soylent last week.
As part of the announcement, Dell is also offering 10 percent off Alienware purchases made with bitcoin (up to a $150 limit).