Paypal has announced that, in conjunction with its parent company Ebay, it is taking steps to integrate bitcoin into its online payment system. On Tuesday, the e-commerce service established that it has formed partnerships with bitcoin processors Bitpay, Coinbase and GoCoin. These partnerships will allow consumers to purchase certain kinds of digital goods with the cryptocurrency such as games, apps and songs.
The bitcoin community has responded positively to Paypal’s decision. Forbes quotes GoCoin CEO Steve Beauregard as saying “I think this is a monumental moment… Paypal is very pivotal for the bitcoin ecosystem”. Beauregard believes that the move to use more than one processing system is wise, as it creates competition between the three bitcoin businesses to provide merchants with the best customer service.
PayPal executive Steve Ellison reminds us in a blog post, however, that the service’s decision to use Bitcoin is not an unequivocal endorsement of the cryptocurrency. He states “To be clear, today’s news does not mean that PayPal has added Bitcoin as a currency in our digital wallet or that Bitcoin payments will be processed on our secure payments platform”. Elliso explains that PayPal’s decision is motivated by the desire to “embrace innovation” by giving its customers flexible payment options while still ensuring that their customer’s transactions will be secure.
Paypal’s expression of desire to continue dealing with bitcoin, though tempered, is a positive step for bitcoin adoption. The more convenient and legitimate it becomes to pay for goods and services with bitcoin, the more people will be eager to give cryptocurrencies a chance.