In a long SEC filing from today, PayPal states that its merchants can now begin accepting Bitcoin. As the original text to the filing reads:
A merchant can typically open a standard PayPal account and begin accepting payments through PayPal within a few minutes. Most online or mobile merchants can onboard quickly and are not required to invest in new or specialized hardware. Our Payments Platform supports growth with a variety of value-added services designed to help businesses of all sizes manage their cash flow, invoice clients, pay bills, and reduce the need for merchants to receive and store sensitive customer financial information. For our standard service, we do not charge merchants setup or recurring fees. A merchant can also integrate with Braintree to begin accepting payments with credit or debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, digital currencies such as Bitcoin, or other payment solutions with a single integration.
In September 2014, PayPal announced it would accept Bitcoin via integration with Braintree, and the same month 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.
eBay CEO John Donahoe said in 2014 that Bitcoin would play an “important role” in eBay’s plans before the two companies agreed to a split due to a changing digital payment’s landscape.
“PayPal is playing the role of the intermediary, but the cost will be left up to the merchant and the payment processor,” said Scott Ellison, PayPal’s senior director of competitive intelligence and corporate strategy, at the time of the original announcement.
The digital payments firm will split from its former parent company, eBay, Inc., effective at the end of 2015. As eBay writes of the split in the filing:
…The commerce and payments landscape is rapidly changing, and each business faces different competitive opportunities and challenges. Consequently, in September 2014 the board decided to separate the businesses. As independent companies, we expect eBay and PayPal will be sharper and stronger, and more focused and competitive as leading, standalone companies in their respective markets. eBay and PayPal also will benefit from additional flexibility and agility to pursue new market and partnership opportunities.
Whether or not PayPal will pursue a more aggressive Bitcoin policy has yet to be seen. In 2014, weighing in already on Bitcoin currency regulations, the company told the Australian Senate:
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“While the currency itself should not be regulated, and transactions by individual users without the assistance of the intermediaries should not be regulated, companies that provide a financial service for digital currency transmission, for issuance or sale of digital currency, or for exchange with other currencies such as the Australian Dollar, should be regulated in a manner similar to the existing regulations that apply to other payment services… Those regulations, however, should be adapted to recognize the specific details of how different digital currencies work, particularly ‘decentralized’ digital currencies that are not controlled by a specific issuer.”