Google recently updated their Payment Request API, giving it the ability to accept bitcoin payments. Many believe this is the first sign that Google is jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon.
The news came with minimal fanfare. It was added as part of a much larger API update. In a news post announcing the update, developer Matt Gaundry spent most of the post explaining how to use the new features of the update. This is the important part of the update notes for the bitcoin community:
““Invalid Currency: The currency code must be three uppercase characters; passing in anything else will throw an error.
‘PaymentRequest’: ‘…’ is not a valid ISO 4217 currency code, should be 3 upper case letters [A-Z]”
Basically, this means you can pass in any three characters, and that acronym will be treated as a valid currency code. This is important, because it means that it allows support for a broad range of future currencies – like bitcoin under the currency code XBT.
By default, the currency code is always displayed in Google Chrome through the Payment Request API. However, only known currencies will include the currency character with amounts. Otherwise, the API will only display the currency code.
In layman’s terms, this update gives online merchants who use Google’s Payment Request API the ability to accept bitcoin payments – or any cryptocurrency payments that use a three letter currency code.
Why Is Google Accepting Bitcoin Payments A Big Deal?
Some people are taking this update as a sign that Google is finally accepting bitcoin. Others are taking it in a more conservative way, saying it’s a minor addition as part of a larger update, and that Google still doesn’t officially support bitcoin in any capacity.
In reality, this update means that anyone who uses Google’s Payment Request API can accept bitcoin in their online stores. That’s a big deal.
Payments API developer Gaundry claims the new feature is designed to enable any future payments that don’t fall under the official list of accepted currencies. In theory, that means the API could support any currency – as long as it has a three letter code like XBT or ETH.
In that sense, the API update means that Google is accepting any digital currency – not just bitcoin.
Nevertheless, Gaundry, in his update notes, specifically used bitcoin to demonstrate the new functionality of the API. That means this isn’t a random coincidence: Google’s Payment Request API added the three-letter currency code feature to address the rise of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Ultimately, bitcoin has become a force too large to ignore. We’ve seen that with the latest bans from China, and we’re seeing it in Google’s new recognition for bitcoin in its payment API. When the world’s largest advertising company and search engine makes a move towards supporting bitcoin, it’s good news for supporters of the world’s largest digital currency.