Payment processor Stripe experimenting with Bitcoin acceptance

Stripe, the online payment processor that graduated from Y Combinator in 2010, announced last week that it was testing Bitcoin support and would be opening up to beta testing in the near future.


At the moment, experimentation with the currency is quite limited. Tarsnap, a cryptographic online backup provider, has partnered with Stripe to test out Bitcoin payments.



Tarsnap founder Colin Percival announced the joint project Thursday on his own blog:
“There is a significant commonality between Tarsnap and Bitcoin — both rely crucially on strong cryptography, and anecdotally it seems that many Bitcoin users rely on Tarsnap to back up their ‘wallets’ (I have no concrete data since I can't tell what data people are backing up) — so it's not surprising that many Tarsnap users would like to pay with bitcoins,” he wrote.



“There is an even stronger connection to many of the ‘alternative cryptocoins,’ since many make use of the scrypt key derivation function which I developed for securing Tarsnap's passphrase-protected key files.”



Little Else Known


Other than the announcements from Percival and Stripe, we don’t know much more about Stripe’s plans for Bitcoin payments.


In an interview with Pete Rizzo, Stripe lead engineer Christian Anderson said the company was taking a long-term position on the currency.


“People selling online aren’t going to shift all their sales to Bitcoin overnight, or even in the next few months,” Anderson said. “There’s some education needed on what accepting Bitcoin means and what the advantages are.


“We also need to make the consumer buying experience better. That’ll take time.”


Stripe’s Recent Series C Round


Time is exactly something Stripe bought itself recently. In late January, the company raised an $80m Series C round of funding that included investments from Peter Thiel and Sequoia Capital.


That put the valuation at about $1.75 billion for a company that processes payments and allows developers to create their own payment forms.


In January, TechCrunch reported that much of the funding would go toward expanding Stripe internationally. To that end, the company announced in February support for a total of 139 global currencies.


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