The internet and mobile payments company announced on Tuesday that it struck a deal with three bitcoin payment service providers – BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin – and that online merchants that use PayPal will also be able to accept bitcoins, all through the same online checkout system.
For now, this bitcoin integration is available only for North America merchants who sell digital products such as movies.
Through the new partnership, merchants using the PayPal Payments Hub, an online platform where customers can choose to pay for purchases using PayPal, debit or credit cards, prepaid cards or a digital wallet, can create a bitcoin payment option for their customers.
Customers will then be able to pay with bitcoins for games, music, videos, e-books, and other digital content.
PayPal, the payments arm of San Jose, Californian, e-commerce giant eBay, emphasised that the new partnership does not mean PayPal would let customers send or receive bitcoins through the PayPal app, a sign that the cryptocurrency is still considered too unstable.
“To be clear, today’s news does not mean that PayPal has added bitcoin as a currency in our digital wallet or that bitcoin payments will be processed on our secure payments platform,” PayPal corporate strategy director, Scott Ellison, wrote in a blog.
“PayPal has always embraced innovation, but always in ways that make payments safer and more reliable for our customers. Our approach to bitcoin is no different.
“That’s why we’re proceeding gradually, supporting bitcoin in some ways today and holding off on other ways until we see how things develop.”
PayPal executives have long said they have no plans to add bitcoin to the platform, but as the currency has become more widely popular, pressure has increased for PayPal to evolve.
Earlier this month, PayPal announced that Braintree, the mobile payments platform it acquired last year, would accept bitcoins as a payment option through a relationship with internet bitcoin wallet Coinbase.