PayPal Talks up ‘Crypto Capabilities’ of New App, Calls DeFi Applications ‘Interesting’

The payments giant PayPal, which ended the second quarter with 403m active accounts, has teased a new “super app” that it says will feature “additional crypto capabilities,” claiming that the app is “code complete” and will be readied for rollout in the United States in the next few months.

The claims were made during the firm’s Quarter 2 2021 investors’ call. The PayPal CEO Dan Schulman announced that the new app would have “unique” technology, including “AI and machine learning capabilities” – as well as new features “outside the P2P” payments sphere “to enable family and friend communications as well as additional crypto capabilities.” However, he stopped short of expanding on what these “capabilities” would involve.

Schulman did not put an exact date on the rollout. Instead, he said:

“We are now beginning to slowly ramp. In the next several months we plan to be fully ramped in the United States.”

The CEO made much of the firm’s crypto credentials, noting that PayPal is currently “one of a few payments companies to allow consumers to use cryptocurrency as a funding source.”

He sidestepped a question about the company’s stance on “crypto” from “a balance sheet perspective,” instead remarking that the firm “continues to be really pleased with the momentum we’re seeing on crypto.”

Back in February, PayPal distanced itself from making a balance sheet-powered crypto buy, but committed itself to crypto innovation and super app crypto functionality.

The firm added that it was also working solutions that would allow users to make transfers to third-party wallets and incorporate compliance solutions, explaining:

“We really want to make sure that we create a very seamless process for taxes and tax reporting. We’re really looking at how to integrate that into both the trading and the ‘buy with crypto’ [feature] on our platform.”

Shulman added that although such innovations were “interesting,” they were not the “main course” of what the firm was “trying to do with our “blockchain and cryptocurrency business.”

Instead, he added, PayPal is “thinking about what the next generation of the financial system looks like how we can help shape that” – by working with regulators and central banks, and “looking at” “central bank-issued digital currencies.”

He claimed that “getting money to people much faster” had now become a priority – and an opportunity for companies like PayPal.

He also made brief mention of the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, remarking that the firm had an interest in methods of “digitizing assets,” with a need to “open those up to consumers that may not have had access to that before, before stating:

“There are some interesting DeFi applications as well.”

The firm has enjoyed yet more growth in the quarter, with what Shulman termed “seeing strong adoption and trading of crypto” on its Venmo platform.

(Photo : PayPal)

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