First Braintree, and now PayPal. Ebay’s popular online payment system recently announced that merchants selling digital goods can opt to start accepting Bitcoin payments via PayPal’s payment portal, if they’re based in North America. That means you may soon be able to pay for non-physical goods such as music and comic book downloads with Bitcoin via PayPal. Sort of. For now, PayPal will be keeping Bitcoin at arms length, and won’t be fully integrating the payment method into its services.
This morning, PayPal rolled out broader support for bitcoin, allowing merchants to accept the cryptocurrency as payment for digital goods. The reaction to bitcoin itself has been immediate and positive. The PayPal integration is minor — users won’t be able to start stashing their bitcoin in their PayPal accounts, but merchants that use certain PayPal services, and are located in North America, will be able to accept bitcoin. PayPal is relying on several bitcoin payment providers to manage the transactions. The implication there is that PayPal, and its parent company eBay, will never hold bitcoin themselves. Hello bitcoin, and welcome back to form. The other side of the above is that PayPal is willing into existence a host of new exit points for current bitcoin holders. The argument is simple: The easier it is for current bitcoin holders to cash out their holdings for IRL, or meatspace, goods, the more they will. If it was hard to do so, there would be more friction and thus less activity of that sort.