PayPal preparing to accept bitcoin transactions

Out-Law News | 10 Sep 2014 | 10:05 am | 1 min. read

PayPal, the internet payments business of the US-based e-commerce corporation eBay, is set to start accepting the virtual currency bitcoin.

The chief executive of eBay’s payment processor subsidiary Braintree, Bill Ready, said on 8 September that the company would begin the accepting virtual currency “in the coming months”.

Ready said the use of bitcoin would be through a partnership with Coinbase, which is a bitcoin wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with the new digital currency. Coinbase has 1.6 million ‘consumer wallets’ and 36,000 merchants globally, Ready said.  

As bitcoin is made available, Ready said Braintree’s ‘v.zero’ software development kit (SDK), developed jointly with PayPal, “will make it seamless for developers and merchants to add bitcoin to their existing payment methods”.

Ready said: “At Braintree, we’ve been an open platform from the beginning, striving to give merchants easy access to the most sophisticated payment tools, which now includes the most relevant wallets across platforms, all via a single integration, the Braintree v.zero SDK. Today, this includes PayPal, with over 150 million active digital wallets, Venmo, which is processing more than $1.5 billion in mobile payment volume annually, Coinbase in the coming months, and whatever is relevant for developers and merchants in the future.”

The chief executive officer of eBay John Donahoe said in an interview with CNBC last June that he saw bitcoin and other digital currencies playing an “important role” in PayPal. Donahoe said: “We're going to have to integrate digital currencies in our wallet.”

According to San Francisco-based Coinbase, “bitcoin is the world's most widely used alternative currency with a total market cap of approximately $5.6 billion”. The bitcoin network is made up of thousands of computers run by individuals worldwide.