PayPal Inc. has filed a patent application for a modular payment device that accepts bitcoin and other digital currencies.
The application, filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, includes a lengthy description of how it manages virtual currencies and it specifically names bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin. The application also describes physical characteristics of the device, and it includes an image of the device.
The application’s abstract describes a modular payment module. The module includes a chassis which has a modular device connector. A payment database in the chassis stores funding source information and security information.
A payment module engine in the chassis determines that the modular device connector has been connected to a device frame, and it retrieves identifying information from the device. The module then determines that the identifying information matches an authorized device identified by the security information in the database and, in response, enables the transmission of the funding source information to conduct a transaction.
The application signals a possible bitcoin integration for PayPal, which the company hinted at in 2014.
It describes a system that includes multiple virtual currency cards, each of which corresponds to a specific virtual currency wallet.
The virtual currency system includes a virtual currency wallet; a non-transitory memory including instructions to provide a virtual machine that is configured to give access to the wallet; and one or more hardware processors coupled to the card and the memory, wherein one or more processors read instructions from the memory to perform operations.
Each virtual card has a different virtual currency wallet that stores one or more private keys that provide the ability to transfer the virtual currency associated with one or more public addresses.
Each virtual card may include a TrueCrypt (or similar) linked folder that stores the virtual currency wallet application on the virtual card.
In some embodiments, each of the virtual currency wallets could be associated with different types of virtual currency (e.g., one virtual currency wallet could provide access to bitcoin, another could provide access to Litecoin, while a third could provide access to Dogecoin, etc.).
The wallet provides the ability to manage and store multiple virtual currency wallets of the same and/or different types of virtual currency, while presenting three security layers to a user attempting to access a virtual currency wallet to transfer virtual currency to another user.
In addition, the virtual or physical cards can be cloned, backed up, or otherwise copied to a separate storage system (e.g., a physical storage device, the cloud, etc.) to ensure that loss, theft, or other unavailability of the payment module does not threaten access to the virtual currency on any of the virtual cards.
The payment module engine facilitates the transmission of funding source information from the database in order to conduct a payment transaction.
Thus, a user can authorize any number of modular devices for use with the module, then use the module with any of the modular devices while ensuring that theft or loss of the payment module won’t permit its use with a non-authorized modular device.
The application noted that consumers are increasingly purchasing items and services over electronic networks such as the Internet. Transactions take place with the aid of online or mobile payment service providers such as PayPal that make transactions easier and safer.
The use of phones and other devices for making online and/or mobile payments is growing rapidly, as wireless payment systems that allow the user to use their mobile device to send payment to a merchant device are replacing traditional payment devices like cash and credit cards.
Phones are usually provided by manufacturers that must be replaced when one or more components fail or become obsolete. The modular phone provides a modular frame to which different components can be attached (e.g., battery module, screen module, camera module, storage module, speaker module, etc.)
The use of modular components, along with a component ecosystem that allows for manufacturers and third party suppliers to provide users with components, allows a user to replace the components rather than the entire phone when one of the components fails or becomes obsolete.
Also read: PayPal merchants can now accept BTC
PayPal noted in a 2014 SEC filing that its merchants could begin accepting bitcoin via integration with Braintree. It also announced partnerships with Coinbase, BitPay and GoCoin. Via the PayPal Payment’s Hub, merchants could use customizable APIs to integrate bitcoin into their shops for digital goods. At the time, it released a video hinting at bitcoin integration.
Bitwala, a cryptocurrency-to-SEPA payment service, announced in November it was allowing users to send bitcoin to PayPal accounts. Bitwala noted it charged a flat fee at 0.5% of the transacted amount. All transfers made toward destination PayPal accounts were to be done with EUR, with the exchange rates dictated by PayPal.
PayPal in January announced the appointment of founder and CEO of bitcoin startup Xapo, Wences Casares, to its board of directors.
Featured image of PayPal from YouTube.