Paypal subsidiary ready to accept bitcoin

Braintree, Paypal’s mobile payments processing arm, is unveiling one-touch payments and will start accepting bitcoin in the “coming months”. Braintree CEO Bill Ready made the announcement at San Francisco’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Monday, citing low conversion rates on mobile sales as the main reason for the change.

The company has partnered with bitcoin exchange Coinbase to enable bitcoin based payments, but users will not see bitcoin in eBay’s marketplace or on Paypal as of yet. But Braintree customers will eventually be able to start accepting bitcoin via a Coinbase wallet integration. The integration will support instant exchanges, meaning that merchants will not have to handle bitcoin directly.

Braintree provides payment processing software for companies such as Airbnb and Uber, and was acquired by eBay last year for around $800 million. More recently, there has been much speculation over Braintree’s exploration of bitcoin integration.

“The reason why we were watching it up to this point is that a lot of things needed to be solved in order for us to have a leading use case,” said Ready. “There were regulatory questions and questions over whether it would be easy for merchants and consumers to use.”

Braintree is also adding one touch payments to its service. The programme, One Touch, allows applications that employ Paypal to accept user payments with a “single tap” from their phones, removing the need to enter a username, password or credit card information. Ready noted that one touch payments on mobile were becoming increasingly necessary – recent reports have found that half of online shopping now happens on mobile devices, but only 10 to 15 percent of actual payments happen on mobile phones.

“The reason for that gap is that there’s a two-thirds to 75 percent fall off in conversion,” Ready said. “People just bail out,” he said.

As Apple is due to announce its new mobile payment platform on the iPhone 6, Paypal joins the slew of companies trying to pip them to the post. New developments from Braintree might allow Paypal to hold on to its lead in online payments.

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