Stripe Now Accepts Bitcoin Payments

Stripe today announced that it now accepts Bitcoin. The launch comes after nearly a year of testing. The benefit for Stripe users is the possibility of skirting expensive credit card fees.

Stripe is an online payment processing platform for businesses. Some of its most well-known customers include KickStarter and Shopify. Stripe has long relied on credit cards to power online transactions, though it has in the last year added Apple Pay and Alipay. The problem with credit cards are, of course, the 2% to 3% transaction fees charged by Visa, MasterCard, and others. Adding Bitcoin to its roster gives Stripe a better story to sell its customers thanks to reduced expenses. 

According to Stripe, all of its customers with US bank accounts are eligible to accept Bitcoin, and there's no waiting period. Stripe Checkout customers can add Bitcoin support with a single line of code. Transactions made with Bitcons will appear next to fiat currencies in Stripe's dashboard, which it says makes them simple to manage. Last, all Bitcoin transactions will have the same fee of 0.5% of the transaction price. 

Stripe is offering its customers plenty of documentation to help get the ball rolling. Accepting Bitcoin works opposite of how credit card transactions do. For example, in a normal credit card transaction, the purchaser provides their account number which the merchant then runs. The issuing bank can decline the purchase if it wants. There's no such risk with Bitcoin. 

"We create what is called a BitcoinReceiver," explains Stripe, "a wrapper around a Bitcoin address that provides a virtual location that your user can push the payment to. Once the user has pushed enough Bitcoin into the receiver, you can create a charge using this receiver. Because the funds are already in the receiver when you create the charge, there’s no concept of a 'decline' the way there would be in credit cards." In other words, not only does it offer dramatically lower transaction fees, but there's much less chance of payments being scuttled by banks. 

According to Stripe, all API endpoints and dashboard reports support both Bitcoin and credit card payment types.

"We want to enable merchants to add new payment instruments as easily as possible, and are really happy we’ve been able to provide bitcoin support to Stripe Checkout users with just one extra line of code,” says co-founder John Collison.

The extensive set of documentation, which is available here, provides a quickstart example as well as detailed instructions on how to generate an address for payment and using checkout, and creating and displaying the BitcoinReceiver. 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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