PayPal releases new mobile SDK; kicks off $100,000 global hackathon

PayPal releases new mobile SDK; kicks off $100,000 global hackathon

PayPal has launched a mobile software development kit for streamlining in-app payments for iOS as it bids to play catch-up with a host of developer friendly start-ups such as Dwolla and Stripe.

Back in 2009, PayPal was the first financial company to open up its payments APIs for developers around the world.

"However, our tools haven't kept up with the bleeding edge of innovation that the industry expects of us," admits PayPal CTO James Barrese at the launch of the new mobile SDK and a number of other developer-led initiatives at SXSW in Austin.

Under the new model, customers will no longer have to leave the developer app in order to make a payment, and will be offered additional options, such as snapping a photo of their credit card using PayPal's technology. Available first for iOS developers, the programme will soon be expanded to other platforms, says Barrese.

The company is also offering fresh Javascript buttons to make it easier for developers to integrate PayPal into the checkout by copying and pasting a couple of lines of code; and releasing new APIs built on modern, standards-based technologies such as REST, OAuth, and JSON.

"Developers should have the freedom to focus on innovating for their customers, not spending time worrying about handling the complex task of payments," says Barrese. "This is just the beginning. We will be releasing new APIs and capabilities throughout 2013, while continuing to support our existing developer tools through this evolution."

The company has also used SXSW as the launch platform for a series of global hackathons, dubbed Battlehacks. Participants in the 24-hour hackathons will be challenged to come up with the best application to solve a particular problem related to a worthy cause, such as as finding better ways to donate, reducing carbon footprints and stopping food waste.

At the end of each BattleHack, prizes will be awarded to the winning application. The top teams from around the world will then go on to a "Battlehack to end all Battlehacks" in Silicon Valley to compete to win $100,000 to make their application a reality or donate the money to charity.

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