PayPal’s Support Is the Best Thing That Could Happen to Bitcoin

Fairly or not, bitcoin still has an image problem. For every VC who extols the innovative power of the digital currency, pop culture still sees it as a way for the paranoid cyber-libertarian to shop for black-tar heroin on the Silk Road. All the more reason, then, that bitcoin fans should rejoice that, in a move announced Monday at Techcrunch’s Disrupt conference, PayPal is supporting the crypto-currency on its Braintree payments platform. When the internet’s most mainstream brand for moving money embraces a technology, it’s hard to see that system as a fringe operation.
Not that you’ll be buying Beanie Babies on eBay with bitcoin just yet. For non-financial tech nerds, Braintree is a startup bought by PayPal last year that creates tools for software developers to easily integrate payments into apps and websites. Instead of being shuttled off-site or out-of-app in the manner of the traditional PayPal payment flow, everything happens in-app, in exactly the way individual developers want. In supporting bitcoin – an increasingly popular currency driven by open source software running across a worldwide network of machines – Braintree is allowing developers on its platform to effectively flip a switch and add bitcoin to the payment methods they accept.

This post was published at Wired on 09.09.14.

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