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Zynga begins testing Bitcoin payments for some online games

Game maker partners with BitPay to offer the cryptocurrency as a payment option for virtual goods.

Zynga has begun accepting virtual currency Bitcoin as payment for virtual goods in some of its games.

The social-gaming company has partnered with Bitcoin payment processor BitPay to test the cryptocurrency in a handful of its Web-based games, Zynga announced late Friday in a Reddit post. Players of FarmVille 2, CastleVille, ChefVille, CoasterVille, Hidden Chronicles, Hidden Shadows, and CityVille will be able to use Bitcoin to make in-game purchases, according to the post, which was confirmed by CNET.

"In response to Bitcoin's rise in popularity around the world, Zynga, with help from BitPay, is testing expanded payment options for players to make in-game purchases using Bitcoin," the company said in its post. "We look forward to hearing from our players about the Bitcoin test so we can continue in our efforts to provide the best possible gaming experience."

TechCrunch, which first reported Zynga's statement, notes that Bitcoin's comparatively lower transaction fees make the virtual currency an attractive option for the struggling social-gaming company. While beating Wall Street estimates for its third-quarter earnings in October, Zynga recorded continuing declines in revenue and active user numbers.

Bitcoin has grown in acceptance in recent months, with some observers believing the digital currency could be the currency of the future. A Bank of America research report last month indicated that the decentralized currency could become a major contender to other types of online money-transfer providers.

However, the decentralized nature of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies has also raised concerns in the banking industry. The European Banking Authority in December warned against the buying, holding, or trading virtual currencies, noting that there are currently no regulations to protect consumers from financial losses in the event exchanges fail or go out of business.