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Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zcopley/

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zcopley/

If there is a single technical development likely to increase bitcoin’s mainstream appeal, it’s BIP 70. The protocol, introduced in the March 0.9.0 update of Bitcoin Core, is arguably the first major toolset for making the bitcoin experience user-friendly. Among other innovations, BIP 70 allows users to display their addresses in human-readable text rather than as baffling and intimidating 34-character codes, provides for near-instant transaction notifications, and takes much of the risk out of the refund process.

As promising as BIP 70’s features are, few wallet providers have fully integrated its features. This week, however, the protocol took a huge step towards greater adoption when major bitcoin service Coinbase officially added BIP 70 support.

With a powerful API already in place, Coinbase’s BIP 70 integration could signal the start of a new era where bitcoin transactions are no longer seen as risky, error-prone and technically oriented processes where mistyping a single character results in the effective destruction of currency for buyer and seller. According to the blog post about the integration, all Coinbase merchants will have BIP 70 support enabled by default.

Coinbase is by no means the first wallet provider to integrate the protocol. Last week, popular MacOS and Android wallet Hive debuted their BIP 70-compliant wallet, and most major wallet providers are expected to include support for the protocol in coming releases.

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