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    Sep 10, 2014

    PayPal says yes to bitcoin


    EBAY'S PayPal service will start accepting bitcoin, opening up the world's second-biggest Internet payment network to virtual currency transactions.

    "We're announcing PayPal's first foray into bitcoin," Bill Ready, chief of eBay's Braintree unit, said 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."

    As the world's biggest Web marketplace and operator of a global payments service, eBay is the most significant business to date that has embraced bitcoin. The move could potentially enable PayPal's 152 million registered accounts to transact using the virtual currency, spurring wider use and acceptance of bitcoin, according to Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

    "PayPal integrating bitcoin into Braintree is a very substantial development," he said.

    "Not only will it make it possible for some of the fastest-growing apps to integrate bitcoin seamlessly, it opens the door for PayPal to integrate bitcoin into its main wallet functionality. If that happens, millions of retailers will de facto be accepting bitcoin overnight."

    Braintree provides payment capabilities on websites and in mobile apps such as mobile car-booking service Uber Technologies and Airbnb, the short-term home rental service for travellers.

    PayPal and Braintree will work with bitcoin payment-service provider Coinbase to enable payments in the virtual currency, Mr Ready said.

    He said he expects to announce which merchants will accept bitcoin in the coming months.