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Bitcoin Black Friday: US online retailers attempt to stir up an online shopping frenzy

The digital currency has topped the $1000 exchange rate this week

Bitcoin is continuing to elbow its way into the mainstream consciousness, with a gang of US online retailers attempting to give their own boost to the digital currency by co-opting America’s biggest ‘retail event’: Black Friday.

Bitcoin Black Friday’ will launch on 29 November with “hundreds of merchants selling everything from web hosting to organic beer [offering] special deals to anyone paying in Bitcoin”.

“Bitcoin has so much potential to make the world a fairer and more prosperous place. But it needs our help,” read the description from the site. “Because Bitcoin challenges such powerful industries, it will face serious political opposition-- especially in the U.S. where those industries are strongest. This amazing new technology will only be politically safe once millions of people rely on it every day.”

Participating retailers will no doubt be hoping to replicate the frenzied scenes that traditionally accompany the physical Black Friday, where shopping can become so competitive that there is even a Black Friday Death Count, currently recording four deaths and sixty-seven injuries since 2006.

In the US the unofficial holiday occurs on the Friday following Thanksgiving and marks the start of the Christmas shopping period. The name originally referred to the point in the calendar at which retailers began to turn a profit (going from the red side of the balance sheet to the black) although modern shopping giants now become profitable much earlier in the year.

However, even as the value of the digital currency continues to rocket (it broke through the $1000 mark earlier in the week) the wares available for sale on the Bitcoin Black Friday website are a reminder of its niche appeal - unsurprisingly, the likes of Tesco and Argos (well, Walmart and Target - this is the US of course) have yet to get involved.