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Web 2.0 Summit: PayPal's Platform Plans

With talk of the death of cash, PayPal president Scott Thompson painted a rosy future for payments delivered through mobile devices.

PayPal plans to open its electronic payments platform to third-party developers, company president Scott Thompson said at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon.

"We'll offer hooks into the PayPal system that will allow anyone in any industry to develop new ways to pay," he said.

The platform will be called PayPal X. PayPal first announced its platform plans on June 23rd.

Thompson provided little in the way of details, which will be revealed on November 3rd at PayPal X Innovate 09, the first PayPal developer conference.

The company has been working in private with a select group of developers and providing them with information about PayPal's forthcoming payment platform APIs, which are expected to be made available outside the beta testing group sometimes next year.

Last week, PayPal celebrated the addition of its 500th developer

PayPal faces plenty of competition both in terms of its payment platform and its mobile payment service. Amazon began testing its Flexible Payment System for developers in 2007 and just recently introduced its Mobile Payment Service for mobile phones. Nokia made a major investment in mobile payment service Obopay in March and plans to roll out a mobile payment system called Nokia Money next year. Google has made its Google Checkout service available for mobile devices.

Thompson nonetheless expressed confidence that the future will be full of electronic transactions between various devices.

Citing a July 2009 Wired article listing "100 things your kids may never know about," he suggested that electronic payments might even replace cash, without acknowledging the privacy implications of a world without anonymous transactions.

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