Braintree chief confirms move over the coming months.
Bitcoin looks set to reach its biggest audience yet following the revelation that PayPal could soon be set to accept payments using the cryptocurrency.
The news had been rumoured earlier this year, as parent company eBay looked to expand its business in the face of increased competition, and now seems to have been confirmed by Braintree Payments, PayPal’s mobile payment processing arm.
"We’re announcing PayPal’s first foray into Bitcoin," Bill Ready, the chief of EBay’s Braintree unit, told the crowd at Techcrunch’s Disrupt SF conference.
"Over the coming months we’ll allow our merchants to accept Bitcoin. On the consumer side it will be a sleek experience."
Ready said that tens of thousands of PayPal merchants using Braintree will be able to quickly and easily accept Bitcoin thanks to a functionality built into the company’s recently-announced v.zero software development kit (SDK).
"We’re at the right time for this, and to see how to propel it forward," Ready said, adding that he expects to be able to announce the first group of merchants accepting Bitcoin within the next few months.
Braintree later confirmed Ready’s statement in a company blog post, saying that the payments processing would be in partnership with leading Bitcoin handler Coinbase.
"While we’re focused on giving people more seamless buying experiences, we’re also fierce advocates of giving merchants — and in turn their customers — flexibility and the freedom of choice," the company said.
The company’s new SDK also means that merchants will be able to add Bitcoin to their existing payment methods and "provide an elegant, adaptive user interface" for consumers to pay in Bitcoin with their Coinbase wallet, Braintree said.
"We are excited to be partnering with a company that is equally committed to simplifying payments for both merchants and consumers, and look forward to working with Braintree to complete the integration," said Coinbase, which will take a 1% flat fee for any transaction.
Braintree was acquired by PayPal for $800m last year. At the time of the deal, the company reported that it was processing up to $12bn (£7.4bn) in payments per year – $4bn of that via mobile apps, to around 4,000 merchants worldwide.