Popular e-commerce platform Shopify announced earlier today it would add a bitcoin payment option for its sellers. With a base of over 70,000 online stores, the number of goods that can potentially be purchased with bitcoin has expanded once again.
With current values putting 1 BTC at almost $340, bitcoin has moved back onto the mainstream radar. Acceptance by a large commercial presence like Shopify could see even more heads and opinions turn bitcoin's way.
Bitcoin payments via BitPay will be offered as an option for merchants immediately*, but they will need to request activation themselves. Several Shopify merchants and their customers have been lobbying for bitcoin integration for some time, though, and the response to the announcement was overwhelmingly positive.
Shopify representative Brian Alkerton posted the following on the company's user forum:
"Just a quick update on this: our BitPay integration is feature-complete and can be added to your store now. Due to the fact that it's a very new feature and not something we're ready to roll out to all stores just yet, you will need to contact me to have it enabled, and I may want to follow up with you for your feedback once you've been using it for a while, but it works. When active, BitPay will appear as a credit card processor in the Checkout page of your shop admin - enter your access key and you'll be all set to go."
He added that since BitPay would be considered the same as a credit card processor option like Authorize.net and Stripe, the two could not be used together "at this time". Only PayPal Express Checkout could still be used in conjunction with BitPay.
Alkerton also posted on Reddit that bitcoin integration was "something our dev team has built as an initial testbed to potentially evaluate future applications. The implementation is limited for now but we are working on improving it."
European bitcoin payment processor BIPS also announced last month they would offer bitcoin integration to Shopify merchants, and posted an instructional guide on how to set it up. Shopify's new 'official' solution is likely to be more popular though, through its inclusion in the Shopify administrative interface and its use of BitPay, which has been the preferred option for US-based businesses.
Another payment processor, Bitcredits.io, has also developed a bitcoin payment system that integrates with Shopify and works in conjunction with Stripe and PayPal. It is currently in private beta due for release in a couple of weeks, and has already been deployed by a merchants including home solar products seller yetisolar.com.
Shopify, based in Ottawa, Canada, was launched in 2006 and is now available for use in any country, currency or language (though the administrative interface is English-only). It has often been praised by both merchants and customers for its 100+ clean and easy to use templates to organize merchants' storefront and products, as well as process payments and track orders.
There are also tutorials to get novice sellers started, and forums for all sellers to communicate with each other and the company. Sellers represent all parts of the retail spectrum, from food to clothing and even art and crafts.
*Update: Shopify has delayed further deployment for a day or two to fix a bug with order handling, but is still taking merchant requests for the system.