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Dell hops on the bitcoin bandwagon

Looking to buy a new Dell laptop? You can now purchase one from Dell's website using bitcoin.

Dell Bitcoin Checkout

In a move likely to appeal to tech-savvy customers, Dell is now letting people buy computers and accessories using bitcoin.

Dell on Friday announced consumer and small-business customers in the US can now use bitcoin to make purchases on Dell.com. When checking out, customers simply need to select bitcoin as their payment option.

Dell is accepting bitcoin payments through a partnership with bitcoin wallet service Coinbase.

Bitcoin's value has been volatile over the last few years -- with a single bitcoin worth less than $100 a year ago and surging above $1,000 in late 2013 -- but the digital currency is slowly gaining acceptance in mainstream marketplaces. Electronics retailer Newegg started accepting payments in bitcoin earlier this month. In June, travel site Expedia embraced the digital currency, and Apple's App Store reversed a bitcoin app ban. California Gov. Jerry Brown also signed a bill last month that legalizes the use of bitcoin and other digital currencies.

In an FAQ about bitcoin payments, Dell made sure to offer pointers to bitcoin newbies. It gave this explanation of the virtual currency:

Bitcoin is a distributed peer-to-peer network offering a payment system based on "bitcoin", a completely digital form of currency. Bitcoin can be transferred instantly and securely between any two people in the world.

Dell's FAQ also offered guidance on starting a bitcoin wallet and purchasing bitcoin. As of Friday, a single bitcoin is valued at around $625. The company tried to head off any security concerns by assuring customers that there are "thousands of computers ("miners") constantly running software to ensure the safety of the bitcoin network" and that Coinbase is "one of the most secure, reputable and widely used bitcoin platforms in North America."

To sweeten the pot, Dell is offering a deal in "coming days" on new Alienware systems when customers check out with bitcoin.