Formlabs, makers of the most popular resin-based personal 3D printer, announced they will now accept Bitcoin for purchases at their online store. While there may be other 3D printer manufacturers accepting Bitcoin, Formlabs seems to be the only big player doing so.
Bitcoin, if you somehow haven’t heard, is a new digital currency enabling electronic fund transfer between individuals and organizations in a manner similar to plain old cash. Recently the exchange rate between Bitcoin and “real” currencies has skyrocketed, with Bitcoin values exceeding USD$1,000.
At this time Bitcoin is still viewed by many in the public as “some strange techie thing” and as such it is actually used mostly by those deep into new technologies.
But they are one of Formlabs’ target markets. It’s a good move as Formlabs’ support of Bitcoin will no doubt be viewed favorably by that market.
There could be a downside, however. Our spies tell us that while it’s pretty straightforward to purchase Bitcoins, it is quite another matter to convert them into “real” cash. Apparently there just aren’t a lot of large bulk purchases of Bitcoins, which will be just what Formlabs requires to convert their Bitcoins into cash for their operations. It could be that Formlabs believes they’ll only receive a small portion of revenue via Bitcoin and therefore conversion won’t be an issue.
On the other hand, Formlabs staff might receive salary in Bitcoins if this move is highly successful.