With surprisingly little fanfare from the mainstream business media, AT&T in late May became the first major U.S. mobile carrier to provide a cryptocurrency payment option to customers.

Even with the vast amount of press releases I receive on fintech daily, I was not aware of this development until last week when I logged in to pay my current AT&T bill and saw a note at the top that said bitcoin payment through BitPay was now available to AT&T mobile customers.

According to a post on AT&T’s website on May 23, the company will now accept online bill payments through BitPay, a respected cryptocurrency payment processor based in Atlanta. 

"We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services," said Kevin McDorman, vice president, AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations. "We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer."

Customers will be able to select BitPay as a payment option when they log on to their accounts online or with the myAT&T app.

For those unfamiliar with Bitpay, the firm was founded in 2011 to make it easier for businesses to accept bitcoin payments. According to its website, the company is the world's largest bitcoin payment processor. Its products include the BitPay secure bitcoin wallet and the Bitcoin Visa Card. The latter enables bitcoin holders to convert their bitcoin into dollars and spend their funds through their Visa card.

The million-dollar question is why does this AT&T-BitPay business relationship matter?  Because it signals the first time a major mobile carrier accepts bitcoin as payment and no doubt will trigger other carriers—and consumer-facing businesses—to do the same. 

While the IRS has recently ruled that bitcoin is property, bitcoin continues to find further utilization and adoption as a form of payment.  Which is correct?  Now THAT’S the real million-dollar question.