Reddit hopes to relaunch cryptocurrency payments - and not just Bitcoin, either

Ethereum and Litecoin may also be added to the payment roster in the future.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
Nan Palmero

Reddit is hoping to reinstate cryptocurrency as an option for payment in the near future.

Following the removal of Bitcoin as a payment option for Reddit Gold, in an interview with Cheddar on Thursday, Reddit chief technology officer (CTO) Chris Slowe indicated that this may not be permanent.

Bitcoin was removed from the platform in March. The reason for removal of virtual coins as a payment option was placed at the feet of Coinbase, which discontinued its Merchant Tool product in favor of Coinbase Commerce, a new platform aimed at supporting multiple cryptocurrencies.

"The upcoming Coinbase change, combined with some bugs around the Bitcoin payment option that were affecting purchases for certain users, led us to remove Bitcoin as a payment option," said Reddit administrator emoney04 at the time.

In the interview, Slowe said Bitcoin is likely to return as a payment method and other cryptocurrencies may be in the works, too.

However, reinstating cryptocurrency will have to wait until Coinbase -- the firm's major payment processing platform -- has finished a redesign of their payment services.

"They're doing a great job, a major revitalization of their payment gateway, we just didn't have the time to upgrade our current API integration," Slowe said. "Once the current redesign finishes landing and we are able to address it again, I think we'll see cryptocurrency payments come back."

Slowe said that the previous set of tools provided by Coinbase only supported Bitcoin payments on Reddit, but a fix to pave the way for alternative cryptocurrency payments is underway. The executive said that Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) are also being considered.

"We will probably jump back on and have more options available," the executive added.

Reddit has a long-standing connection to cryptocurrency that few other websites do. The company has a forum for every form of cryptocurrency that currently exists, but the high transaction fees of Bitcoin caused serious issues for the network.

See also: The enterprise shows little interest in blockchain technology: Gartner

As Bitcoin becomes more mainstream and popular with miners and traders, payment requests are often made in a rapid fashion that the network cannot support.

Transaction bottlenecks led to pick-and-choose transactions for miners supporting the blockchain, which then led to higher fees and for smaller payments, the cost -- which sometimes can go beyond $10 for each transaction -- was not viable.

While these fees fluctuate and sometimes can be as little as $1, the uncertainty has caused problems for payment providers. In December, Steam removed Bitcoin as a payment option, citing "high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin."

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