The big news over the past day has been the fact that Paypal has finally greenlit the addition of Bitcoin payments to their platform. While that may sound extremely good at first glance, I do believe some excitement moderation is needed, as this might not be as big of a deal as some of us would expect.
Even though Paypal has partnered up with CoinBase to add Bitcoin support to their BrainTree SDK, nothing will change anytime soon. Having the possibility to accept Bitcoin payments through Paypal, or Paypal payments funded by Bitcoin, is great, don’t get me wrong. However, we are still months (if not a year) away from actually seeing this implemented.
But there is another twist in the plot. In order to allow for Bitcoin-Paypal transactions, companies and developers have to edit their website’s code by adding a few lines. Even though this might not seem like a daunting task, which it really isn’t to be honest, I doubt many people will go for this in the first 6-12 months of having the feature enabled. If the system you use isn’t broken, why fix it, right?
The biggest problem I see with this integration is usability. If you think of Paypal payments, a lot of people will automatically connect it to Ebay, as Paypal is a subsidiary of Ebay. However, no one ever said that Ebay themselves will edit the code in order to accept Bitcoin-Paypal payments, did they? Ebay never said they wouldn’t edit the code either, but as long as there is no official confirmation on either statement, I don’t see a reason to get excited just yet.
I do like the way Ebay and Paypal are thinking though, as opening up the SDK to Bitcoin transactions is a great step forward for cryptocurrency enthusiasts. However, as the final decision on whether to use it still depends on the seller/merchant/company, it remains to be seen how many people will actually make use of it.
Another concern is how Paypal will handle disputes over Bitcoin transactions. As we all know, Bitcoin transactions are non-refundable. However, Paypal is known for “freezing” funds and transactions because of disputes, or in some cases, randomly. Will we see people with negative Bitcoin balances , or Bitcoin transactions which are “locked” for 180 days? Something to think about if you ask me.
Keep in mind this is just my personal opinion, and your opinion might be different.