PayPal announced that it will now let merchants accept Bitcoin payments by way of processors BitPay, Coinbase, and GoCoin, which it says have taken steps to ensure customer protection. It will enable this via the PayPal Payments Hub in North America.
PayPal has not added Bitcoin as a currency in its digital wallet, and it is not processing Bitcoin payments on its own secure payments platform. The company says in a blog post:
PayPal has always embraced innovation, but always in ways that make payments safer and more reliable for our customers. Our approach to Bitcoin is no different. That’s why we’re proceeding gradually, supporting Bitcoin in some ways today and holding off on other ways until we see how things develop.
But giving our digital goods merchants an easy, one-stop way to test the waters with this new form of payment isn’t the only way we work with Bitcoin. For some time now, we’ve helped merchants selling Bitcoin mining equipment to accept PayPal payments. This will continue. But to safeguard customers, we’ve decided not to work with merchants who pre-sell these products. This is consistent with our approach to pre-sales of other goods; we hold off anytime we determine that pre-selling may not provide a good buyer experience.
The company also notes that it must follow laws and regulations in countries where it operates, and that means virtual currency exchangers and administrators have to secure "appropriate licenses" and put anti-money laundering procedures in place before PayPal will work with them.
It will be interesting to see how PayPal's support of Bitcoin evolves over time.
Image via PayPal