New SDK from Coinbase and BitMonet enables Bitcoin-friendly Android apps

A new SDK lets Android developers easily accept Bitcoin payments in their apps

More Android apps may soon have built-in support for Bitcoin payments thanks to a new partnership between Coinbase and BitMonet.

The companies have released a software development kit (SDK) that aims to make it easy for Android developers to build apps that process Bitcoin payments.

It could help knock down what some see as one of the biggest hurdles to wider Bitcoin use: the lack of a killer app that makes it easy for everyday folk to use the virtual currency.

With the SDK, Android developers will be able to make apps that accept Bitcoin payments without forcing the user out of the app and into another service. Coinbase and BitMonet envision a range of applications, but greater support for retail transactions with bitcoins is one likely outcome.

Coinbase provides a variety of services around Bitcoin, including a digital wallet and an exchange for buying and selling bitcoins. BitMonet is an open-source platform that lets people accept payment in bitcoins for their blog posts.

As Bitcoin gathers more attention, online merchants like Overstock.com and others have begun to accept the virtual currency as payment.

A developer could build a simple app using the SDK in an hour, said Ankur Nandwani, chief engineering advisor at BitMonet. A more complete implementation could take upwards of a day, he said.

No money changed hands in the collaboration between the companies, which was conceived to boost Bitcoin use on mobile devices, Nandwani said.

The SDK requires that smartphone users have an account with Coinbase.

In its announcement, Coinbase called out two uses in particular: micro-transactions and debit payments. Small micro payments of a few cents can be hard to facilitate on mobile devices, since the provider usually has to pay a fee to a bank or credit card company.

Micro-transactions between accounts on Coinbase, however, have zero fees, the company says. "The customer simply connects their Coinbase account, grants the app permission, and can then perform one-click buys in the app," the San Francisco-based company says.

Meanwhile, with debit payments, the SDK could let developers integrate automatic "pull" payments into their apps. That means people could grant permission to apps to tap into their bitcoins in Coinbase to make regular payments. Imagine someone like Uber or Sidecar being able to automatically debit your Bitcoin account after a ride, for example.

This functionality could present some risks, since Bitcoin payments are meant to be irreversible, so getting your money back for an unsatisfactory ride may not be possible.

Still, Coinbase is one of the more established Bitcoin services companies. It recently attracted a US$25 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz, a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileinternetmobile applicationse-commerceInternet-based applications and servicesMobile OSesAndroid OSBitcoin FoundationBitmonetCoinbase

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?