Braintree will start accepting Bitcoin as a valid currency soon, The New York Times reported this week. The payment processing company, purchased by eBay last year, announced its plans at the TechCrunch Disrupt technology conference in San Francisco. The move caters to start-up technology providers who need convenient, cost-effective payment integrations.
While many mainstream companies have ignored Bitcoin, the digital currency is gaining popularity among finance and technology firms. Bitcoin is a virtual payment system that uses its own unit of currency. People can get Bitcoins three ways: by accepting them as payment for goods or services; by purchasing them on an exchange; or by verifying other Bitcoin payment transactions using software.
Because the currency allows you to remain anonymous, it has become popular to use it on black market websites like Agora and Silk Road that sell illegal goods.
Braintree's announcement shows more companies are accepting it as legitimate tender. Now that a lot of the initial fraud and system-hacking kinks have been worked out, Braintree says it's the right time to adopt the electronic currency.
"It feels like we're at the right moment in time now that a lot of those early problems with Bitcoin have been solved," Braintree CEO Bill Ready said at the conference.
The main advantage of Bitcoin is reduced processing fees for merchants. Among the major e-tailers that now accept the currency are Overstock, Expedia and Dell. Braintree did not specify which sites were likely to begin accepting Bitcoin, but the company's tech clients include Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit. It promises to release more details in the coming months.