In “the coming months,” PayPal’s Braintree will have completed a way to process payments using the peer-to-peer decentralized digital currency bitcoin. Bill Ready, who is head of the online and mobile payments platform, announced the news in a conference and later wrote on the company website that he’s interested in giving merchants flexibility and freedom of choice.
With clients like Airbnb, Stubhub and Uber, Braintree is looking to develop a system whereby established companies as well as startups can utilize the virtual currency as a payment option on any type of smartphone or mobile device.
The development will include Braintree partnering up with Y Combinator and Coinbase, one of the most successful bitcoin payment processors in the world today, in order to offer the service. Braintree clients will be required to open a Coinbase account and then link it to their Braintree accounts.
“We’re announcing PayPal’s first foray into bitcoin,” Ready told an audience at Techcrunch’s Disrupt SF conference on Monday. “Over the coming months we’ll allow our merchants to accept bitcoin. On the consumer side it will be a sleek experience.”
“This is PayPal making a move to embrace Bitcoin,” said Ready, who noted that they can now gradually move forward because they have developed a better conversion rate on mobile platforms than on desktops, an issue that has been difficult to resolve for developers.
If the company enhances its bitcoin adoption process for PayPal then retailers would be automatically accepting bitcoin almost immediately.
Over the past several months, there has been a wide abundance of speculation that eBay and PayPal would venture into cryptocurrency territory. In February, it was reported that bitcoiners believed PayPal’s new digital wallet could include bitcoin in its “multiple types of currency.” Prior to that, it was reported that eBay was mulling over ways to use bitcoin but was waiting for a more established regulatory framework to operate in.
EBay chief John Donahoe told CNBC in June that he sees virtual currencies like bitcoin playing an important part for PayPal and noted that it would have to integrate the digital currency into its wallet software. EBay acquired Braintree last year for $800 million in cash, and the purpose was to make it an addition to the PayPal network.
Despite the positive news for the bitcoin industry, the currency’s price declined close to one percent during Tuesday morning. It is currently trading at just over the $470 mark, which is still immensely down from its near $1,200 value late last year.
Bitcoin presently maintains a daily transaction volume of $44 million, compared to the $16.5 billion for Visa and $397 million for PayPal. Although many critics called for its demise earlier this year amid the bankruptcy of Mt. Gox, a large number of major retailers and organizations have incorporated the virtual currency into their business models, including Dell, Expedia, the Dish Network, Overstock.com and the Wikimedia Foundation.
In other words, bitcoin is still trekking along.
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