Max Levchin, a co-founder of major payments giant PayPal, isn’t sure bitcoin is a certain bet despite being a big believer in blockchain technology.
Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the aptly titled Breakthrough Awards on Sunday, Levchin was asked to share his thoughts on blockchain technology, a decentralized innovation best-known for its association with bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency.
“It’s a brilliant mathematical idea, fantastic technology, interesting commodity to speculate on,” Levchin said enthusiastically about blockchain technology, adding it will be used in “different industries from financial technology to medicine.”
Still, the PayPal co-founder doesn’t have a definitive take on bitcoin, not yet anyway.
TBD on whether it’s [bitcoin] a currency or just a way to make money fast. I invest in things that I have a strong long-term point of view on and bitcoin I’m still trying to figure out.
He went on to suggest that blockchain technology, whether it’s bitcoin or any other application, is here to stay. “But it’s not clear to me whether Bitcoin itself is the great long-term investment,” he added.
Levchin’s stance on bitcoin contrasts to those of other former PayPal executives. Former PayPal COO David Sacks, an early investor in companies including Facebook, SpaceX, Uber and Airbnb, notably stated that bitcoin was fulfilling PayPal’s original vision but only better – in a decentralized way.
A little over a year ago, billionaire investor and bitcoin believer Peter Thiel, Levchin’s fellow co-founder at PayPal, stressed that bitcoin’s critics are “underestimating” the cryptocurrency’s “great potential” to become the “cyber equivalent of gold”.
Thiel, who was appointed to US President Trump’s transition team, started off “a bit skeptical” about bitcoin but admitted that bitcoin had succeeded in doing PayPal what didn’t, as early as 2014.
He said at the time:
Bitcoin is the opposite of PayPal, in the sense that it actually succeeded in creating a currency.
Featured image from Flickr/TechCrunch .