Want to buy stuff using bitcoin? Coinbase wants to help

Doing business with cryptocurrency could become a bit easier with Coinbase Commerce -- if merchants actually embrace it.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science Credentials
  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Stephen Shankland
Coinbase Commerce lets you pick a cryptocurrency like bitcoin and then gives you a merchant's destination wallet for payment.

Coinbase Commerce lets you pick a cryptocurrency like bitcoin and then gives you a merchant's destination wallet for payment.

Coinbase; Screenshots by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Coinbase, a company that houses people's digital wallets for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has a new way to pay.

The service, called Coinbase Commerce, "enables merchants to accept multiple cryptocurrencies" so funds arrive directly in their own wallets. It can be integrated straight into their own online checkout processes, Coinbase said in a blog post Wednesday.

Bitcoin rose to prominence as a digital currency, but many today are cautious since its value has been highly volatile, transaction times are slow, transaction fees have been increasing, and many people bought cryptocurrencies not to spend it but to hang on in hopes its worth would continue to skyrocket.

"Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange... This has led to Bitcoin becoming less useful for payments," payment processor Stripe said in January of its decision to stop accepting bitcoin payments.

Coinbase didn't immediately detail transaction fees or transaction times for Coinbase Commerce.

There are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies now besides bitcoin, perhaps most notably the Ethereum Project's ether given its more advanced blockchain-based smart contract technology, but it isn't fast at transactions either. Coinbase Commerce can accept bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether and litecoin. It's integrated already with Shopify for those using that e-commerce technology.