PayPal’s Braintree Embraces Bitcoin, One-Touch Payments

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Nearly a year after PayPal acquired it in an all-cash $800 million deal, online and mobile payments platform Braintree is unveiling one-touch payments and is integrating Bitcoin.

Bill Ready, who led the company through its sale, says that mobile conversion rates are still far off from where they are on the desktop web. That’s partially because it’s a lot more tedious to enter or re-enter credit card information on mobile devices. Ready says that more than half of e-commerce shopping experiences happen on mobile devices, but only 10 to 15 percent of purchases occur on smartphones.

“The reason for that gap is that there’s a two-thirds to 75 percent fall off in conversion,” Ready said. “People just bail out.”

But after months of tests, Braintree is unveiling a way for people to pay across different apps with a single touch, which eliminates the need for usernames and passwords. Early launch partners include Jane.com, ParkWhiz, StubHub and Type Tees by Threadless.

“We’re able to get to a better conversion rate on mobile than on desktop,” he said. “You should be able to get a strong amount of ecommerce sessions on phones and buys.”

On top of that, they’re partnering with Y Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz-backed Coinbase to enable Bitcoin-based payments.

“This is PayPal making a move to embrace Bitcoin,” Ready said, pointing out that Braintree is the go-to developer platform for PayPal.

That ability will launch in the coming months. Developers who have integrated Braintree’s software development kit will also be able to add Bitcoin to their payment methods. It’s another win for the San Francisco-based Bitcoin wallet and merchant payments processing platform, which recently secured deals with Wikipedia and Overstock. Braintree supports very large partners like Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox and Ready says it’s still growing at 25 percent quarter-over-quarter even after handling $14 billion in volume around the time that eBay acquired it.

“We had a lot of developers tell us they’d love to add Bitcoin,” said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. “But Braintree would handle all of their payments and they didn’t want to add another SDK. They would say that if Braintree added it, they would add it.”

If Braintree-supported merchants choose to enable Bitcoin payments, they’ll need a Coinbase wallet. The integration will support instant exchanges, meaning that the merchant doesn’t have to handle Bitcoin directly and can get an immediate conversion rate between a fiat currency and Bitcoin.