PayPal crypto services to go global early 2021, support for CBDCs coming

Senior executives at global payments giant PayPal have revealed further details about its plans to aggressively push into the crypto sector next year during the firm’s Q3 2020 earnings call, including plans to support central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

“Clearly the world is rapidly moving from physical to digital,” said PayPal CEO, Dan Shulman, emphasizing the accelerated rate of change within the payments and financial services sectors.

Citing discussions with central banks, regulators, and crypto industry leaders, Shulman asserted: “There is no question that digital currencies are going to be rising in importance, having increasing functionality, and increasing prominence.”

“CBDCs […] are a matter of when and how they’re done, and not if.”

PayPal’s chief executive said that through its scale and prominence the company will “help shape the utility of [CBDCs],” including facilitating interoperability with existing payment rails and fostering acceptance among merchants. Shulman also described the legacy financial system as “not working” for many ordinary people.

“I do think that our platform and all the new digital infrastructure that we’re putting in place right now can help make that management and movement of money more efficient, less expensive, and faster.”

Last month, PayPal announced it would roll-out services allowing customers to purchase, sell, and hold crypto assets, sending bullish reverberations across the virtual currency markets. The roll-out will also see crypto assets supported by PayPal’s merchant network of 28 million vendors.

In the call, PayPal’s executives emphasized the strength of demand for crypto services from its customers already, with its CEO noting: “our base is very eager for us to offer these capabilities.”

While just 10% of PayPal’s U.S.-based users currently have access to its crypto services, Shulman noted the rest of the country expected to come online before December.

“Our waiting list was two to three times what our expectations were.”

“We’re seeing people who have already bought crypto open their wallet several times a day to check out what’s happening with their crypto investments,” he added.

Responding to the demand, Shulman announced that PayPal will increase its weekly crypto purchase limit from $10,000 to $15,000.

Shulman also revealed PayPal’s virtual currency services will be made available to international customers, alongside launching on its mobile payments app Venmo, during the first half of next year.

“Over the course of next year, you’ll see us move into a couple of different areas,” the CEO added.

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