PayPal has teamed up with BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin to enable retailers to receive payments in the digital currency BitCoin via PayPal’s payment hub.
Although PayPal stopped short of integrating BitCoin into its payment processing or digital wallet services, the move is the first baby step the online e-commerce pioneer is taking to integrate the BitCoin community.
The service has already gone live, and sellers of digital goods in North America alone have been granted initial access to the payment method before being rolled out on a grander scale later this year.
The initiative was announced via a blog post by Scott Ellison, senior director of corporate strategy at PayPal, in which he commended BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin for their commitment to consumer protections on their platforms.
"While we’re focused on giving people everywhere safer and more seamless buying experiences, we’re also fierce advocates of giving businesses – and in turn their customers – flexibility and freedom of choice.”
The e-commerce giant that is PayPal is currently available in 193 markets and 26 currencies, serving 143 million active account holders, and generating revenue of $6.6 billion at the end of 2013 (coindesk.com ). This innovative move by the company brings with it the potential for new businesses and new users to enter the BitCoin economy.
Addressing security concerns, Ellison also clarifies that PayPal will only be working with BitCoin companies that offer certain consumer protections:
"Vitual currency exchangers and administrators interested in working with PayPal in the future must secure the appropriate licenses and put anti-money laundering procedures in place.”
Talking to the BBC, Scott Green , the founder of the UK BitCoin price comparison site Bittybot, recognised the significance of the move:
"I think we will look back at this announcement from PayPal as being a major turning point in the mainstream adoption both of BitCoin and its payment system being taken seriously by businesses.”