Some players in an emerging technology industry in central Washington state are about to face higher electric bills. That’s because a major utility wants to protect itself from the uncertainties surrounding the trade in virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

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An Oregon political campaign wants your digital donations. The group behind the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana says it's now accepting bitcoin contributions. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports on this new frontier in campaign finance.

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Bellevue, Wash.-based Expedia just announced that it will start accepting bitcoin for hotel bookings. The online travel site is embracing the volatile, virtual currency on what it calls a "test-and-learn" basis.

First Bitcoin ATM In US Northwest

May 2, 2014
Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The world's first bitcoin ATM launched last year in Vancouver, Canada. Now there's also a physical place in the U.S. Northwest to buy and sell the virtual currency. A bitcoin ATM was just installed inside the entrance of a Seattle sports bar popular with tech workers. It is at the Spitfire Grill in the Belltown neighborhood.

Tom Banse

Here's a surprising fact: the largest bitcoin "mine" in North America is located on the outskirts of Wenatchee, Wash. If you don't know what bitcoin is, it's a virtual currency. At this moment, computers around the world are racing to solve complex algorithms. Whoever wins earns the prize of 25 newly created bitcoins. This digital money can then be traded or used to buy goods directly. But running all those math formulas to make this cyber-currency takes a lot of electricity. And this is where central Washington comes in.