August 19 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

EBay considers accepting Bitcoin payments

EBay’s Braintree could accept Bitcoin, after the firm was revealed to be in talks with enabling companies.

Bitcoin has been growing as a force to be reckoned with in the global economy. Just recently, UK chancellor George Osborne announced that the Treasury would be “exploring” the role the digital currency plays in the UK and whether it should be regulated. Some stores are already accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment – and soon, they could be joined by EBay’s Braintree service.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the e-commerce giant has been quietly developing the systems to accept the virtual currency through the Braintree payments subsidiary, which is part of the PayPal unit. PayPal officials have apparently been meeting firms that enable Bitcoin transactions, such as Coinbase, but no deals have been made as yet.

 

Although EBay and PayPal themselves – two of the most recognisable names in e-commerce – will not immediately be involved, it would still be a significant boost for the digital currency.

It could introduce a new audience of consumers to Bitcoin and help to increase its usage in future. After all, retailers such as Overstock.com are already accepting Bitcoin, and as the list grows consumer interest in Bitcoin is only likely to grow.

Nothing may be confirmed as yet, but it appears there is definitely support for wider use of the digital currency. In June, chief executive of EBay John Donahoe gave an interview at CNBC where he explained that digital currencies would eventually have to be integrated into the company’s wallet.  But for now, the firm remains tight-lipped.

“We do believe that Bitcoin will play an important role in payments in the future, but we have nothing to announce,” eBay spokeswoman Jennifer Hakes told Reuters.

 

Braintree makes sense as a starting point – EBay acquired the firm to raise the profile of PayPal in the mobile sphere, and it would be a logical place to begin if there was going to be a push towards accepting Bitcoin across every platform.

The PayPal app could well be next in line to accept Bitcoin if the Braintree integration was successful. At that point, Bitcoin really will have gone mainstream.

Hari Sri

Hari is the LSBF Blog's News Editor. He manages the editorial content on the blog and writes about current affairs, SME, entrepreneurship, energy, education and emerging market news.

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