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Microsoft takes bitcoin—but don't expect refunds

The price of the bitcoin nudged higher Thursday on the news that technology giant Microsoft had started to accept the digital currency as payment for products including apps and games.

No formal announcement was made by the U.S. company but industry website CoinDesk noticed the addition to Microsoft's payment information page on Thursday. Currently only available to U.S.-based customers, it allows people to add money to their Microsoft account using bitcoin via a computer or a smartphone.

"You can use it as a payment option to buy apps, games, and other digital content from Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox Games, Xbox Music, or Xbox Video stores," the new page states on the Microsoft commerce website.

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Bitcoin transactions should process immediately, it says, but adds that transactions are not eligible for refunds once they have been completed. It also says that bitcoin is not yet fully integrated, meaning the digital currency cannot be used to purchase Microsoft products and services directly.

The price of the cryptocurrency rose around 5.6 percent ($19) on Thursday morning also boosted by the news that a former managing director at JPMorgan had started working at a bitcoin startup. Paul Camp is set to swap Wall Street for Circle Internet Financial, according to the Wall Street Journal, after leading the investment bank's global transaction services business.

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Bitcoin is a "virtual" currency that allows users to exchange online credits for goods and services. While there is no central bank that issues them, bitcoins can be created online by using a computer to complete difficult tasks, a process known as mining.

While the digital currency has sparked interest by venture capitalists on both sides of the Atlantic, it has also run into regulatory issues in many countries. In September, the mobile payment processing arm of eBay-owned company PayPal announced that it would be allowing its merchants to use the digital currency. Lord & Taylor, Virgin Galactic, online retailer Overstock and Chinese search engine Baidu are some other notable companies that have embraced bitcoin in the past two years.