PayPal is unlikely to buy Bitcoin for its corporate treasury, according to the fintech giant’s chief financial officer, John Rainey. But it will expand its cryptocurrency services outside the U.S.
Rainey said during an interview with CNBC published on Feb. 11 that he does not expect PayPal to invest in Bitcoin like electric car manufacturer Tesla has. He said:
“We’re not going to invest corporate cash, probably, in financial assets like that […] but we want to capitalize on this growth opportunity that’s in front of us.”
That’s a pretty substantial opportunity, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in the company’s Feb. 3 earnings report for Q4 2020. Cryptocurrency trades “far exceeded our expectations” according to Schulman.
Saying the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency was just the” initial steps… of an extensive road map around crypto, blockchain, and digital currencies,” Schulman added that the company was “significantly investing in our new crypto, blockchain and digital currencies business unit.”
The next step on that road will take PayPal’s crypto services to the U.K., its first stop outside of the U.S., company Vice President Jonathan Auerbach said on its Feb. 11 Investors Day. It will also bring these services to its Venmo app in the near future, along with plans to begin allowing its network of 29 million merchants to accept cryptocurrency as payment, he said.
All of these moves were announced by Schulman in November. They are part of a broader company goal, in which PayPal “can envision a future where transactions are completed in seconds not days, a future where transactions should be less expensive to complete and a future that enables all people to be part of the digital economy, not just the affluent,” he said.
The company forsees “a new era of financial services” that includes both private cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies, Schulman said at the time, adding that PayPal intends to help shape that future.
PayPal’s Rainey also explained that the firm will invest in firms that provide “complementary assets to our platform” that could cause growth.