The above-embedded video features a cryptic new advertisement by PayPal, which hints at the company’s intention to begin embracing bitcoin, a popular digital cryptocurrency which many consumers and businesses prefer over government-backed paper currencies. The commercial promotes PayPal’s vision for a new “people economy,” saying, “We are the people who have built a whole new place to live, dream and be. We employ ourselves and vote with our money. Our phone is our wallet. We can spend bitcoin with a tap, without a pocket. We can buy and sell and rent and send and lend a twenty to a friend. From the coffee bar and share-car, we are unstoppable with our thumbs… No need to send any details or data, not even when we pay each other. We have magical money, not bound by bank or bill. It’s instant, simple, and secure enough to get out of the way.”
According to Bloomberg, Braintree, a mobile payment system that was acquired by PayPal’s parent company eBay, is set to begin accepting bitcoin in the near future, which represents PayPal’s first step towards bitcoin integration. Said Braintree CEO Bill Ready at this week’s Disrupt SF tech conference, “We’re announcing PayPal’s first foray into bitcoin. Over the coming months we’ll allow our merchants to accept bitcoin. On the consumer side it will be a sleek experience.” The announcement came on the heels of the launch of Braintree’s One Touch payment system, which will allow consumers to purchase products from merchants with a single touch, without keying in credentials each time.
Though most PayPal and eBay merchants will likely begin accepting bitcoin in time if the integration with Braintree goes well, bitcoin users will have to wait a while before the entire eBay marketplace opens up to the digital cryptocurrency. To start off, Braintree merchants will choose whether or not they want to accept bitcoin. Said Bill Ready in a statement on Braintree’s website, “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. That’s why today, we also announced that we’ll enable our customers to easily accept bitcoin in the coming months via a partnership with Coinbase — a trusted, high quality bitcoin payment processor with 1.6M consumer wallets and 36,000 merchants globally. As we make bitcoin available, our v.zero SDK will make it seamless for developers and merchants 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.” Since Braintree provides mobile payment support for brands like Uber, Dropbox, and Airbnb, its bitcoin integration will dramatically expand available options for users of the digital cryptocurrency.
Techcrunch quoted Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong as saying, “We had a lot of developers tell us they’d love to add bitcoin, but Braintree would handle all of their payments and they didn’t want to add another SDK. They would say that if Braintree added it, they would add it.” Braintree merchants who choose to accept bitcoin will be able to have it instantly transferred into a chosen fiat currency.
In other bitcoin-related news, a hacker claims to have hacked into the email address of bitcoin’s mysterious founder and is offering to reveal his identity in exchange for 25 bitcoins, valued at around $11,000.