Blockchain or Bitcoin: What’s the Hold Up, PayPal?

Despite fierce competition, PayPal is still setting the pace the digital payment industry. The company, since its split from eBay in 2015, has routinely acquired companies to improve services, and partnered with others to increase its worldwide reach.

This specific venture, to expand worldwide reach through various partnerships, has almost quietly been an enormous success. For instance, in 2017 PayPal strengthened its partnership with Visa such that it reinforced its presence and adoption across Europe. The company has also gradually integrated with online casino industries, which operate throughout much of the world and have played a role in making PayPal more visible in the Asia-Pacific region. Top internet-based betting platforms in New Zealand and Australia, and similar sites for casino gaming, routinely accept PayPal among a range of other digital deposit options.

This growing global reach underscores PayPal’s leading role in digital payment. However, at this stage it’s also fair to wonder if PayPal’s leading role is destined either to expand or shrink based on the company’s relationship with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The company has continually found ways to dominate the competitive space of modern payment processing – but where these technologies and innovations are concerned, it’s facing new hurdles and new competition.

So far, PayPal has been largely lukewarm toward digital currencies. This is likely because the company has taken notice of how volatile and unstable cryptocurrencies are. Perhaps unknown to many, PayPal, for a time, was actually accepting bitcoin – and merchants weren’t on board. Said merchants were inclined, if they did accept bitcoin (via PayPal or otherwise) to quickly convert it to a more stable form of currency. Thus, PayPal’s brief experiment in this regard was largely unnecessary, if not somewhat annoying to some involved.

This negative experience has no doubt shaped PayPal’s current view on bitcoin. To be fair though, the company isn’t entirely closing its doors on cryptocurrencies. PayPal CFO John Rainey has made this clear, saying, “We have teams clearly working on blockchain and cryptocurrency as well, and we want to take part in that in whatever form that takes in the future – I just think it’s a little early on right now [for bitcoin].” In other words, PayPal is open to both blockchain and bitcoin. However, adoption of the former, so far, seems to be the likelier scenario. As a matter of fact, the company looks well on its way to some form of adoption in this regard. Earlier this year, PayPal invested in tech startup Cambridge Blockchain, which by all appearances is a company focused on helping people to decentralize
their digital identities.

That PayPal seems intrigued by blockchain adoption is a positive sign for the company. There is little doubt that moving into the future, at least some of PayPal’s merchants and clients will appreciate the various benefits of blockchain technology. Some of these benefits include real-time, cross-border transactions, fraud and error reduction, reduced fees, time-stamped data recording, and data security. Given all of this, it’s understandable that blockchain is already being hailed as a game-changer in the digital payment industry.

If you want to keep a closer eye on how PayPal is adapting moving forward, keep an eye on focuses on client identification”>the company’s investment in Cambridge Blockchain. At the moment, PayPal is looking at whether or not the Cambridge Blockchain platform can be used as a mechanism for clients to prove their identities without needlessly sharing their personal information. It would be a small step, particularly in light of the massive blockchain investments of, among others, Visa, Mastercard, and Square. But it’s a step nonetheless, and it’s one that PayPal probably has to take if it’s going to remain the dominant payment processing service of our time.

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