As reported yesterday by Cheddar, PayPal, a multinational fintech giant, has launched a token-based employee incentive platform, built using blockchain technologies. The platform reportedly rewards employees for contributing ideas to innovation-centric projects.

Poker With The Presidents

The aforementioned incentive platform was constructed in PayPal’s innovation lab, based in San Jose, California. According to the company’s director of innovation, Michael Todasco, the forward-thinking scheme took six months to develop, with the venture only being introduced to the startup’s staff in mid-November.

The tokens issued to employees, which hold no inherent value outside of the company’s offices, can be exchanged for over 100 “experiences.” These include:

  • Playing poker with the company’s Vice Presidents
  • A run and coffee with CFO John Rainey.
  • Martial arts classes with CEO Dan Schulman.
  • Borrowing Gabrielle Scheibe Rabinovitch’s (the Head of Investor Relations) dog for the day.

I personally see the latter as doing Rabinovitch a favor; staff should earn tokens for this (come on Gabrielle, let’s not sugarcoat the situation).

The tokens can be accessed via the company’s internal website, and can be exchanged between employees. Each transaction will, in turn, be logged on the in-house “public ledger,” which is likely centralized in stark contrast to Bitcoin’s distributed ecosystem. 

Still Against Crypto?

Despite PayPal making it seem like it intends to embrace the nascent world of digital tokens, the company seems to have maintained its stance against facilitating crypto payments through its service.

One of the main reasons for this being the volatile nature of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Introducing a crypto-based payments solution for merchants could see the company, which already runs on tight margins, record huge losses, especially if the price of BTC declines even further than it has.

According to Crypto Globalist, CFO John Rainey was quoted earlier this year speaking on the potential addition of cryptocurrency services:

“You could have something that appeals to consumers, but if the merchants don’t accept it, it’s of little value. Right now, we don’t see a lot of interest from our merchants.”

Taking a more extreme stance, PayPal’s former CEO, Bill Harris, was quoted earlier this year saying that Bitcoin is nothing more than a “colossal pump-and-dump scheme.”

Steps Forward In Crypto

In spite of this, the company is showing positive signs of moving closer towards cryptocurrency adoption. In late-November, major U.S.-centric crypto exchange Coinbase announced that users will now be able to link their exchange and PayPal accounts.

In the announcement, found discreetly hidden on the company’s FAQ section of their website, Coinbase states how users can use the newfangled feature:

“Currently, customers are only able to use PayPal to withdraw or sell, and transaction availability depends on region. Coinbase does not support the ability to purchase digital currency using your PayPal account.”

This is the second time Coinbase has integrated PayPal into its platform. The service was stopped in 2017 purportedly due to technical issues.

The innovative crypto exchange, who now employs over 500 staff, could inspire the online payments giant to become more crypto-friendly. With a withdrawal feature now in place, we could see PayPal implement a depositing feature, allowing its user base to fund their Coinbase accounts. From here we could potentially also see a crypto payments terminal developed for merchants by PayPal, much like Coinbase has already achieved.

In December 2017, former PayPal and Facebook executive, David Marcus, joined Coinbase’s board in a move to help “guide” the crypto exchange with his knowledge in the payments sector.

There’s a lot of speculation with regards to PayPal’s future in crypto. However, one thing is absolutely clear — if the company were to bring cryptocurrency support to its platform, this would be a gigantic step forward for the crypto ecosystem as a whole.

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