Video Ad Platform Vungle Offers Bitcoin Payment Option

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BitcoinDespite Bitcoin’s volatility, businesses are beginning to experiment with the peer-to-peer payment system.

One such company is Vungle, which helps mobile app publishers promote through 15-second in-app video trailers distributed through its ad platform. Vungle said Thursday it’s giving publishers the option to be paid in bitcoins, though its advertising clients cannot pay with the digital currency.

“We want to help app developers monetize their apps and giving them the option to receive payments in bitcoin gives them more flexibility,” said Andrea Sharfin, VP of marketing at Vungle.

Bitcoin transaction fees are about 1%, or about half the cost of other financial institutions, Vungle claimed. In addition, because the fund transfers are processed online, participants receive payments faster.

App developers who select bitcoins as a payment option must already have a bitcoin wallet or software for storing and sending the virtual currency. Several clients, according to Sharfin, have asked for a bitcoin payment capability. As for uncertainty around Bitcoin’s future, Vungle believes that the payment system “has a ton of potential,” said Sharfin.

“Generally the people who want to be paid in bitcoin know a lot about it and many independent app developers are getting excited about it,” she said. Sharfin declined to name clients who have expressed interest in using the new payment system.
When asked whether Vungle itself would accept bitcoin payments, Sharfin said the company would consider it for the future. "We just want to gauge publisher interest in bitcoin payment as a first step," she said. "We'll choose whether or not to invest more into bitcoin based on the feedback we get."

Vungle’s customers are mainly gaming app developers and its network includes more than 4,000 apps, including developers like Wooga, Halfbrick, Zeptolab and Sega.

Several businesses accept Bitcoin. Lord & Taylor said on Tuesday that it accepts the virtual currency when shoppers make purchases through the mobile shopping app Pounce. Overstock.com, Khan Academy and Zynga also accept bitcoins.

Analysts suggest that Bitcoin offers greater potential as a payment system instead of a currency. Crypto-currency payments like Bitcoin will be “a catalyst for improved efficiency of today’s payment and commerce ecosystem,” predicted Forrester Research analyst Denee Carrington in a blog post.

Goldman Sachs came to a similar conclusion in a report issued Tuesday.

“More than taking off as a widely used alternative currency, it is much more plausible that Bitcoin eventually has a significant impact in terms of its innovation on payments technology, by forcing existing players to adapt or co-opt it,” wrote authors Dominic Wilson and Jose Ursua.

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