stripeStripe, a San Francisco, Calif.-based mobile payments startup, has offered its customers a bitcoin payment option after completing a bitcoin beta test. CCN reported the beta test in March 2014. “While in beta, Stripe merchants accepted bitcoin transactions from more than 60 countries, so we’re excited to see what’s next,” said Tim Drinan, a company spokesman.

Stripe provides numerous APIs to power commerce on a range of devices and platforms. The company offers processing services for online and mobile transactions, which customers can integrate into their mobile apps.

Merchants interested in accepting bitcoin can use Stripe’s API or embed the payment method in the Stripe Checkout process.

Solution offers merchants key benefits

Stripe’s payment solution offers fluctuation-resistance; the merchant can avoid exchange rate hassles by specifying amounts in U.S. dollars and receiving payment dollars. It charges 0.5 percent per successful bitcoin transaction.

Stripe also offers bitcoin payments integrated into the same reporting as credit cards.

“In moving bitcoin support from beta to general availability, one of the main things for merchants was ease of use,” said Drinan.

“For merchants, bitcoin transactions appear side-by-side with fiat currencies in the Stripe dashboard, making it simple to manage. It also only takes one line of code for existing Stripe Checkout users to start accepting bitcoins.”

Easier bitcoin acceptance

Drinan claims Stripe makes it easier and faster for merchant to accept bitcoin than other payment technologies.

“Last week’s move from beta to general availability means a few things. First, anyone can sign up to accept bitcoin, and there’s no waiting period, which is still the case with other products,” he said. “Second, as I mentioned, if you’re already a Stripe Checkout user, adding bitcoin is just one line of code, and bitcoin transactions appear alongside fiat currencies in the Stripe dashboard. And finally, bitcoin transactions will have clear, public pricing (0.5 percent per transaction).”

Stripe believes bitcoin will play a big role in supporting e-commerce globally.

“There is still a significant barrier to buying and selling things online around the world. Stripe is removing boundaries on the Internet, so consumers can buy things from anywhere and in any currency, including bitcoin, and merchants can be global from day one.”

Merchant education needed

Stripe recognizes there is still an education process for merchants about bitcoin.

“Understandably, most merchants are really focused on growing their own business and therefore their customer base. One of the reasons bitcoin is really exciting is that it gives merchants a way of accepting payments from people in places around the world where maybe credit card or debit card adoption is not so high.

One reason we’re committed to crypto currencies like bitcoin is that they’re especially powerful for people in countries with underdeveloped banking systems, which many traditional payment systems never reach” Drinan said.

Stripe has the backing of investors including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, Elon Musk and Max Levchin, according to Bloomberg Business. It has raised about $140 million in funding, with its $1.75 billion valuation pegged to a financing in January.