Recent developments in financial technology have transformed the way consumers pay for goods, particularly in terms of the rise of contactless options. But cryptocurrency has remained a somewhat exclusive financial tool, with limited consumer access and therefore limited retailer application. With its new acquisition of Curv and creation of a new cryptocurrency business unit, PayPal is working to expand that access.
Earlier today, PayPal announced it will acquire Curv, a leading provider of cloud-based infrastructure for digital asset security. This acquisition is part of PayPal’s larger investment into cryptocurrency: Curv will also join the newly established business unit that PayPal announced in October 2020, dedicated to work on blockchain, crypto and digital currencies.
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“The acquisition of Curv is part of our effort to invest in the talent and technology to realize our vision for a more inclusive financial system,” said Jose Fernandez da Ponte, VP and general manager of blockchain, crypto and digital currencies at PayPal. “During our conversations with Curv’s team, we’ve been impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and the thinking behind the technology they’ve built in the last few years. We’re excited to welcome the Curv team to PayPal.”
Currently, the use of cryptocurrency to purchase everyday goods and services has been somewhat limited. While the conversation around digital currency, and bitcoin in particular, has been widespread, there is little mainstream access and so there has not been a great incentive for merchants to build the infrastructure to accept it as currency.
But PayPal CEO Dan Schulman believes that his company can help “advance the utility of digital currencies,” as he told Decrypt. Through its dedicated business unit, PayPal is testing out smart contracts and also exploring the use of various blockchain technologies, to help support its payment and transaction processes.
“The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal. “Our global reach, digital payments expertise, two-sided network, and rigorous security and compliance controls provide us with the opportunity and the responsibility to help facilitate the understanding, redemption and interoperability of these new instruments of exchange.”
If cryptocurrencies do become a more ubiquitous form of currency, retailers will want to have the capability to accept it as a form of payment; consumers are becoming increasingly selective over how they prefer to pay. By partnering with a payments solution that has already invested in this area, retailers may find themselves be better positioned to support cryptocurrency at the checkout – if and when it becomes the preferred choice.