All the more reason, then, that bitcoin fans should rejoice that, in a move announced Monday at Techcrunch's Disrupt conference, PayPal is supporting the crypto-currency on its Braintree payments platform. When the internet's most mainstream brand for moving money embraces a technology, it's hard to see that system as a fringe operation.
Not that you'll be buying Beanie Babies on eBay with bitcoin just yet. For non-financial tech nerds, Braintree is a startup bought by PayPal last year that creates tools for software developers to easily integrate payments into apps and websites. Instead of being shuttled off-site or out-of-app in the manner of the traditional PayPal payment flow, everything happens in-app, in exactly the way individual developers want. In supporting bitcoin—an increasingly popular currency driven by open source software running across a worldwide network of machines—Braintree is allowing developers on its platform to effectively flip a switch and add bitcoin to the payment methods they accept.