eBay chief executive John Donahoe has confirmed the e-commerce giant is looking at ways to integrate bitcoins into its PayPal payments network.
“It’s a new disruptive technology, so, yeah, we’re looking at bitcoin closely,” Donahoe said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “There may be ways to enable it inside PayPal.”
eBay hasn’t yet made any commitments to use the currency, Donahoe added, comparing the digital currency to early music sharing sites such as Napster.
“Virtual currency is something that’s here to stay,” he said.
Last week, PayPal president David Marcus said he was “fascinated” by bitcoin and that his company was considering the currency.
“For us it’s a question of whether bitcoin will make its way to PayPal’s funding instrument or not,” Marcus told Bloomberg TV. “We’re thinking about it.”
While alternative currencies like bitcoin have the potential to be disruptive technologies, they are all still in the early stages of development, a spokesperson for PayPal has said.
“As the company that created the online payments category over a decade ago, PayPal knows how hard it can be to manage payments globally in a regulated environment,” the spokesperson said. “We’re closely following this area and look forward to seeing how it develops.”
The addition of bitcoin to the PayPal network would give the burgeoning digital currency some much-needed legitimacy. There has also been speculation that other money transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram are looking at bitcoin.