Dell Inc. will accept bitcoins for computers, seeking to expand its payment options, Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell said in a tweet.

Dell began accepting the virtual currency from consumers and small businesses in the U.S. in a trial run, the company said in a blog post today. Dell will also offer customers paying with bitcoin as much as a $150 discount on Alienware computer systems. Coinbase Inc. will process bitcoin payments, Dell said.

"Now you can buy digital with digital," Dell said in the blog post.

Dell would become the biggest company to accept bitcoins, joining Dish Network Corp., Inc. and Expedia Inc. in accepting the digital money as payment. Bitcoin, which exists as software, gained in popularity last year as an alternative payment method to dollars, euros and other currencies.

About 63,000 businesses handle the virtual currency, and people have set up more than 5 million digital wallets to keep their holdings, according to CoinDesk, which tracks its use.

"This is another big milestone for the mainstream adoption of bitcoin," Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc., wrote in an e-mail. "Dell is the largest retailer accepting bitcoin and, as an established household name, should bring more credibility to bitcoin acceptance."

Bitcoin is trading at $623.85, down from a high of $1,147 in December, and most institutional investors, analysts and traders don't anticipate the virtual currency's value to climb. Bitcoin trades at unsustainable, bubble-like prices, according to 55 percent of 562 financial professionals in a Bloomberg Global Poll.

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