Will Ebay soon take payments in bitcoin?

By Peter Gothard
15 Aug 2014 View Comments

Auction website Ebay is apparently in talks with Coinbase and other bitcoin transaction providers to begin offering payment in virtual currencies on its website.

The payment facility would be offered through the company's Braintree payments system, which is owned by PayPal, but The Wall Street Journal has reported that, so far, no PayPal executives have agreed on any precise deals.

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PayPal would follow PC maker Dell in accepting bitcoin, and potentially lend weight to the virtual currency, which has been seeing a steady loss in value over the past few months.

The auction site's adoption of bitcoin also comes after government-level talks in Washington and London about accepting virtual currencies into national treasury infrastructures in the US and UK. 

The adoption of virtual currencies by popular sites, such as eBay, and the support of payment processors, such as PayPal, could help propel bitcoin into more common use, rather than as just another vehicle for speculation.

The support of companies such as PayPal may also help curb the use of bitcoin for illicit activities, given the anonymous nature of the currency. 

But public perception of bitcoin has been negatively affected by wildly fluctuating values. One bitcoin dropped in value from $1000 to $500 in just a year.

There are said to be some $6.7bn worth of bitcoins currently in existence in the world, with a highly complex set of computational algorithms required to create more.

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