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PayPal Gets into Blockchain, But Only Internally Among Employees for Now

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:15 PM
Melanie Kramer
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:15 PM

Payments platform PayPal has so far avoided Bitcoin acceptance and, at least visibly, not considered blockchain for its platform. Now, it has launched an internal blockchain-based employee incentive program.

A production of PayPal’s innovation lab, in San Jose, California, the platform took 25 strong team six-months to build and went live this November, according to reports by Cheddar and the lab’s director of innovation Michael Todasco. He says the platform is a:

“Venmo-like feed people can like and comment on and see all the activity going on within PayPal related to innovation.”

PayPal’s new blockchain platform rewards employees in crypto-tokens, but they only have value inside of PayPal and the platform. Staff can earn tokens by joining innovation programs and contributing ideas, they can also trade tokens. The token transactions will be recorded on the platform’s blockchain ledger and can be redeemed for over different 100 rewards, or experiences. These range from poker tournaments with PayPal vice presidents, a morning of martial arts with PayPal CEO Dan Schulman to borrowing the dog of the head of investor relations.

Will This Lead to Future Blockchain Developments for PayPal?

The innovation lab at PayPal works predominantly on prototypes. It studied voice technology some time ago and now voice projects are now a part of PayPal’s development. This could mean the internal employee platform is a way for PayPal to trial a blockchain-based system it theoretically could launch to either a wider internal audience or as an external service. That’s not been confirmed by PayPal, with Todasco only telling news outlet Cheddar  that the lab does work with new platforms to eventually roll them out into the business. And, only if they are successful and there is a business case to do so.

In May 2018, PayPal CFO John Rainey said Bitcoin was too volatile for its merchants, illustrating the stance of PayPal towards the cryptocurrency industry. Rainey did qualify that by saying that if merchant demand increased PayPal could revise its policy on Bitcoin.

There still could be more going on internally at PayPal than meets the eye, it did file a patent that was revealed early this year for a system to improve the speed of cryptocurrency payments. Patents don’t always lead to real developments, however.

It could be time for PayPal to deliver something new to the market, the PayPal app was just overtaken on Google Play Store by Square’s Cash App. The Square app does offer bitcoin trading services and now holds the number one spot in the finance application category in the U.S region of the store.

Featured image from Shutterstock.