Digital wallet Coinbase is collaborating with open-source bitcoin payment effort BitMonet to enable in-app bitcoin transactions on Android.
The two companies are joining together to release a software development kit (SDK) that will allow users to send and receive bitcoin on the platform.
“The idea behind this SDK is to make it super simple for an Android developer to monetize virtually anything with bitcoin,” said Ankur Nandwani, the lead developer behind BitMonet.
Nandwani also claimed the kit could provide a way for bitcoin microtransactions to proliferate further. These tiny payment amounts are something credit card processors generally dislike, as their microscopic fees generate little revenue. He added:
He also indicated that this SDK will allow users to conduct marketplace-style transactions. “Not only can they sell virtual goods with bitcoins, but they can sell physical goods, without asking the user to leave the app,” said Nandwani.
The API enables developers to send money 'in the background' once they have received authorization from the consumer. “The SDK also allows payments to be made in one click, without users having to sign in to Coinbase every time they wish to make a payment,” says Nandwani.
Coinbase has long been a popular wallet for users sending and receiving bitcoin. In December, the company announced that it had surpassed over 650,000 registered users.
Coinbase also processes bitcoin payments on behalf of merchants accepting the digital currency. It recently received $25m in funding from a group of investors led by Andreesen Horowitz.
BitMonet has focused on building microtransaction-based paywalls on the web, but has now turned towards mobile payment. It is used primarily by web content owners seeking to monetize their content by implementing a paywall plugin. The WordPress version of the platform, for example, is currently being used by over 700 blogs.
Micropayments could become big business for bitcoin, but there hasn’t yet been a killer micropayment app.
Paypal and eBay
Open-source projects like BitMonet and TipperCoin have promoted the use of bitcoin for small payments. However, it may take a mobile implementation like the Coinbase-BitMonet partnership for bitcoin payments to really gain traction.
Many companies in the payment industry are looking to mobile as the future of payments, and bitcoin may play a part in this shift.
David Marcus, the president of PayPal, recently indicated that his company's survival rests upon iterating with electronic money like bitcoin. However, he said that PayPal is waiting for the regulatory framework to be further clarified before integrating bitcoin into its platform.
Additionally, eBay, PayPal’s parent company, has applied for a patent on digital “tokens”. This may be a sign that the company knows that the trinity of virtual currency, mobile technology and micropayments has a prosperous future.
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