Announced Monday at TechCrunch’s Disrupt Conference, PayPal has chosen to support Bitcoin on its Braintree payments platform. The announcement is a huge stride for the cryptocurrency in attempting to become a mainstream payment option. Still plagued by concerns of instability and shady usage, Bitcoin’s acceptance by a major mainstream brand is likely to lessen the view of the currency as a “fringe operation.”
Braintree is a start up owned by PayPal that creates software for developers to incorporate payment systems into apps and websites. It allows payment to happen within the app, rather than forcing the user to be redirected to an alternative venue. By accepting Bitcoin, Braintree opens the door for developers to easily choose to offer the virtual currency as a form of payment. According to Wired,
…considering some of Braintree’s most prominent merchants include hot startups such as Airbnb and Uber, chances are good that many more people who never thought to pay with bitcoin will start to see it as an option.
CEO of Braintree, Bill Ready, confirms a major roadblock for Bitcoin uptake has been concerns of regulatory and user experience, but assures that Braintree has overcome such concerns by partnering with Coinbase. CEOs of both companies suggest the integration of Coinbase and Braintree moves Bitcoin from being a “speculative investment” to a usable currency. The acceptance of Bitcoin by eBay-owned PayPal signifies a strong vote of confidence and marked potential in the currency. While independent start ups may choose to support Bitcoin in order to develop a niche-following, PayPal’s status as a part of a publicly traded company (recently valued at $67 billion) means PayPal does not necessarily need Bitcoin in order to maintain itself. Rather, its adoption reflected corporate interest in the currency. Ready says,
We want to build a new efficient payment network for the whole world… not just gold 2.0.”
The company plans to integrate Bitcoin further into the mainstream and view this initial adoption of the currency as a decision to work more closely Bitcoin.
Read more here- “PayPal’s Support is the Best Thing That Could Happen to Bitcion,” (Marcus Wohlsen, Wired)
Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.