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Physical_Bitcoin_by_Mike_Cauldwell_(Casascius)Bitcoin payment service provider BitPay just unveiled a powerful new tool for simplifying merchant transactions. The Bitcoin Payment Protocol enables users to simply “click on a payment link, or scan a QR code, and the wallet software offers two simple choices to the user, pay or don’t pay.” Current Bitcoin payment systems generally require users to copy the address and amount into their wallet, a typo-prone process that can be harrowing for larger transactions.

The new protocol (BIPs 70 – 73) also allows for a less confusing refund process.

With the Payment Protocol, the wallet supplies a refund address along with the payment. This eliminates another potential source of error in refund situations. This approach to refunds works on the block chain, with any wallet software, and does not require the buyers to have a BitPay account.

Other improvements in the new protocol include: optional SSL signatures on payment requests (ensuring that payments are going to intended recipient); user-friendly, less-dense QR codes for longer distance and low-light situations; and direct payment communication from originators to miners.

This is the first major development from BitPay since the announcement last week of their open-source Bitcore app project.

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