We may earn a commission if you click a deal and buy an item. This is how we make money.

Buying stuff with Bitcoin could get way easier courtesy of PayPal

PayPal has filed a patent for a system designed to speed up Bitcoin transaction times, and make the cryptocurrency far more useful to ordinary people.

The payments company is aiming to solve one of the biggest issues around Bitcoin − the sheer amount of time it takes for transactions to go through.

PayPal calls its brainchild the ‘Expedited Virtual Currency Transaction System’, and claims it’s capable of significantly shortening Bitcoin transaction times.

“Virtual currencies like Bitcoin have revolutionized money transfer and payment technology by allowing for inexpensive peer-to-peer transfer of value between users,” PayPal’s filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reads.

“However, the decentralized nature of such virtual currencies is accompanied by a need to confirm transactions, and those confirmation processes introduce a time delay or latency period between the initialization of the transaction and the point at which the transaction has been confirmed.”

It goes on to explain that individual Bitcoin transactions can take more than 10 minutes to go through, which is far too long a wait for both consumers and merchants.

PayPal says its Expedited Virtual Currency Transaction System will “practically eliminate the amount of time the payee must wait to be sure they will receive a virtual currency payment in a virtual currency transaction”.

Its filing says the system will work by “transferring to the payee private keys that are included in virtual currency wallets that are associated with predefined amounts of virtual currency that equal a payment amount identified in the virtual currency transaction.”

Having to wait a long time for payments to go through has been one of the biggest criticisms levelled at Bitcoin.

It’s what led Stripe to end support for payments made in Bitcoin earlier this year, with the company saying Bitcoin had “evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange”.

Would such a system help make digital currencies a lot more attractive? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.