PayPal Unit Reportedly in Talks to Accept Bitcoin
Overstock.com. Dell. DISH Network. These are the latest big fish to embrace Bitcoin payments. And another one could soon be surfacing.
Officials from eBay’s PayPal division are “in talks” with Coinbase Inc. and other Bitcoin payment processors to add the cryptocash to the list of of payments its PayPal payments subsidiary Braintree accepts, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Despite meeting with several Bitcoin payments processors in recent weeks, sources “familiar with the matter” told the Journal that a deal has yet to be reached.
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If one has been struck, eBay and Braintree aren’t spilling the beans.
“We do believe that Bitcoin will play an important role in payments in the future but we have nothing to announce,” Lisa Kornblatt, a Braintree representative, told Entrepreneur.com this morning.
Coinbase opted not to comment. The San Francisco-based Bitcoin exchange and wallet service currently facilitates Bitcoin payments for some 35,000 companies worldwide, including OKCupid, Overstock.com, Dell, DISH Network, Reddit and Square.
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The news, music to Bitcoin proponents’ ears, doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. eBay CEO John Donahoe dropped hints at the company’s annual shareholder meeting last May that it was getting more serious about Bitcoin. He lauded Bitcoin as “a new, exciting technology,” saying it “will play a very important role in the future.” Donahoe wasn’t sure how, he said, but indicated that eBay was considering ways it “could combine bitcoin with its PayPal system.”
The Journal’s unnamed sources said eBay and PayPal might eventually accept Bitcoin, though not initially. Who knows? If an agreement is reached, perhaps Uber and Airbnb will soon, the Journal hypothesized.
Braintree, a Chicago-based company acquired by eBay for $800 million last September, provides the checkout rails that both hot, app-based tech firms use to accept mobile payments. OpenTable, LivingSocial, Hotel Tonight, Basecamp, TaskRabbit and GitHub are also Braintree clients. Perhaps they’ll all jump on the Bitcoin payments bandwagon, too, when eBay does via Braintree. We’ll have to wait and see.
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Meanwhile, many merchants already accepting Bitcoin aren’t receiving a ton of payments in the digital currency, according to a New York Times report published yesterday.
DISH, however, took in its first-ever Bitcoin payment just yesterday, its inaugural day accepting them, from a newlywed couple that has abandoned using all forms of currency with the exception of the cryptocurrency. DISH representative John Hall told CoinDesk that “it’s too early to tell” how many of its subscribers will follow in Austin and Beccy Craig’s footsteps. He expects Bitcoin payments to “start slow and go from there.”
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