eBay dips toes in Bitcoin water with BrainTree
Earlier this week, PayPal made its first promotional mention of Bitcoin in this video, which artfully combines the promise of one-tap Bitcoin payments with the buzzing, upsetting chanting of a demonic horde.
The commercial follows BrainTree, a payment processing and payment service company, announcing at TC Disrupt 2014 that it will soon enable one-tap Bitcoin payments from its platform. How does this relate to PayPal, you ask? Well, BrainTree, since late 2013, has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of PayPal, making that announcement PayPal (and its parent company, eBay)’s first foray into Bitcoin.
BrainTree, which was founded in 2007, provides web-and-mobile-centric payment processing for a number of companies, including Github and hot transportation and travel startups like Uber and AirBnB. The company advertises its ability to provide fully-featured payment processing in “just ten lines of code,” as well as its native PayPal functionality. Soon, according to the announcement, BrainTree will also have the option of offering Bitcoin payments for goods and services.
As BrainTree CEO Bill Ready explained to the Wall Street Journal a few months ago, BrainTree has been watching Bitcoin for a while, but had had its reservations about the currency.
“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. There were regulatory questions and questions over whether it would be easy for merchants and consumers to use.”
So what will BrainTree’s support actually look like? The functionality will come via a partnership with Coinbase (no surprise there), and will resemble the functionality already offered by services like BitPay – Bitcoin payments will flow into Coinbase controlled wallets, and will then be converted into USD, and passed along to the recipient. To the end user, the interaction will look just like accepting a credit card payment, minus the risk of a chargeback down the line.
The support indicates that in the near future, we could see BrainTree clients like Uber and AirBnB open their doors to Bitcoin commerce, though they will have to specifically authorize the support. It’s also a positive sign that PayPal is aware of and excited about the potential of Bitcoin (particularly their use of it in marketing material) and that we may soon see some form of Bitcoin integration in PayPal itself.