Now you can exchange bitcoins to buy apps, games and more for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox

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If you are a person who uses bitcoin you know it's not always easy to find places where you can use the digital currency. That is about to change when it comes to Microsoft content.

Starting Thursday in the U.S., by using BitPay, the world's leading bitcoin payment processor, you can trade-in bitcoin at current market value and add it to your Microsoft account. Those funds can then be used to purchase content in the Windows Store, or in stores that house Xbox Games, Xbox Music or Xbox Video.

For us, this is about giving people options and helping them do more on their devices and in the cloud, says Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft. The use of digital currencies such as bitcoin, while not yet mainstream, is growing beyond the early enthusiasts. We expect this growth to continue and allowing people to use bitcoin to purchase our products and services now allows us to be at the front edge of that trend.

You'll be able to use BitPay to exchange your Bitcoins at current market value and add them to your Microsoft account.

You'll be able to use BitPay to exchange your Bitcoins at current market value and add them to your Microsoft account.

Now, bitcoin will appear as an option for those wishing to add money to their Microsoft accounts. If you want to transfer your bitcoins, you first need to select the amount of money to add to your Microsoft account. BitPay calculates the equivalent amount in bitcoin and delivers that information, along with a BitPay Bitcoin address and payment instructions. You then pay the displayed amount of bitcoin from your bitcoin wallet to complete the transaction. Currently, BitPay supports more than 50,000 businesses, including TigerDirect, Virgin Galactic and Newegg.

While the virtual currency can be used to put funds into Microsoft accounts, it can't be used to pay directly for other Microsoft products and services other than the content we highlighted above at this time. However, this exchange provides an option to keep up with the changing needs of customers who are using micropayments and other banking alternatives.

There is a cap on how much you can exchange per day: $1,000 (or its equivalent in your country or region's currency) to your Microsoft account on any given day, and no more than $5,000 to additional Microsoft accounts that are registered in your name or by you.

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