Coinbase has rolled out a new plug-in that allows eCommerce merchants to accept cryptocurrency from buyers. The software works with online stores that use the WooCommerce platform, which, the Next Web reported, is behind more than 28 percent of all eCommerce stores,
“When customers send money from their cryptocurrency wallet, it’s sent directly to a merchant-controlled cryptocurrency address and processed on-chain by the respective blockchain,” Coinbase said in a release. “This means merchants never have to pay transaction fees to accept payments and always remain in complete control over their funds.”
The plug-in fits into Coinbase’s “open financial system,” which is a peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto network. The idea is that customers pay sellers directly through their wallets, so web stores can avoid merchant fees. As of now, merchants can only accept bitcoin and litecoin, but Coinbase said that bitcoin cash and ethereum support is on the way.
The announcement comes as news surfaced that Coinbase was acquiring securities dealer Keystone Capital, a California-based FINRA-registered broker-dealer, which will allow the firm to run an alternative trading system. Currently, Coinbase lets crypto enthusiasts trade in the larger and better-known crypto forms. By its own estimation, Coinbase is embarking on a journey to “offer future services that include crypto securities trading, margin and over-the-counter trading.”
The exact terms of the deal were unknown, as of the report, and Coinbase will need the green light from regulators to operate under the Keystone licenses. But Coinbase COO Asiff Hirji had noted his firm will still need a few months after those approvals happen (or not) to integrate Keystone’s operations.
Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a lucrative area in which to dip a toe — $13 billion has been raised in ICOs since the beginning of last year, $3 billion of which has been made since the start of the year. Building an appropriate locale for those coins to be traded is Coinbase’s goal — but its not the only company with this vision. FINRA-approved broker-dealer Robinhood recently began offering cryptocurrency trading, and Circle, a strongly backed crypto trading platform, also has big ambitions.