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In recent remarks made about bitcoin at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Schulman stated,
We’re not seeing many retailers at all accept any of the cryptocurrencies. I have always thought that crypto was more of a rewards mechanism for implementing blockchain, as opposed to really a currency.
Schulman’s comments echo his previous sentiments. As noted in a Bloomberg report, the PayPal CEO stressed last year at the Economic Club of New York that cryptocurrencies have an uncertain future and that regulations still need to be sorted out.
It’s an experiment right now that is very unclear which direction it will go.
These particular remarks came as a surprise, since previous news had revealed a patent filed by PayPal aimed at increasing the speed of cryptocurrency transactions. It was later confirmed that the patent filing was live 18 months before, which suggests that in the interim, the company de-prioritized crypto merchant payments.
On the other hand, other executives at PayPal remain bullish towards cryptocurrency. PayPal co-founder Max Levchin’s SciFi venture company participated in a series, A funding round for Anchorage, a cryptocurrency custodian platform for institutional investors.
Meanwhile, fellow co-founder Peter Thiel elaborates that a cryptocurrency will soon be equivalent to gold. Thiel sees more promise in Bitcoin being a store of value instead of a go-to currency for daily transactions. This is the reason why Theil’s Founders Fund purchase 15 to 20 million in Bitcoin in January 2018.
Despite Schulman’s doubts, crypto-related transactions can still be made through PayPal. Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase recently introduced a new feature allowing users to withdraw Coinbase balances to PayPal, without incurring withdrawal fees. The new service is available for US-based customers but the crypto exchange plans to roll it out in other countries.
PayPal useful for online payments in a number of industries. Support is available for shopping retailers like ASOS, Etsy, Adidas, and Forever 21. Numerous travel sites such as Airbnb, United Airlines, and American Airlines, also have PayPal integration.
Online gaming sites like Party Casino and LeoVegas are also on board, as revealed by SlotSource’s listing of sites that accept PayPal, and these are actually examples that speak to the general benefits of the services. Online casino players may prefer such method of payment since the process doesn’t involve any transmitting of crucial information like bank account details or card information.
These examples across numerous industries indicate the potential for cryptocurrency should PayPal ever embrace it fully. In the meantime, while cryptocurrency is not high on its priority list, PayPal is exploring the use of blockchain.
The payments company reportedly launched a blockchain-based rewards system for its employees. The staff grants tokens for participating in certain programs and contributing ideas.
With such move, PayPal joins other companies that have incorporated blockchain in their loyalty programs. Spanish bank BBVA and SC Johnson have used blockchain in similar ways. As for further cryptocurrency integration, we’ll have to wait and see if Schulman shifts his position on the matter.
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