PayPal is not likely to buy digital currencies like bitcoin, though the company does see immense opportunity in the digital wallet space.
In an appearance on CNBC’s “Mad Money” Thursday, PayPal Chief Financial Officer John Rainey said the payments giant has no interest in buying cryptocurrency, instead preferring to invest in services that are additive to the platforms it offers.
“We’re not going to invest corporate cash, probably, in sort of financial assets like that,” he said in response to an inquiry from the show’s host, Jim Cramer, “but we want to capitalize on this growth opportunity that’s in front of us.”
The company has acknowledged that it believes the transition to digital forms of currencies is inevitable. In December, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman called digital wallets a “natural complement to digital currencies” and said the company serves 360 million digital wallets.
PayPal does have exposure to the crypto market. In October, the company announced that it would allow users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash and litecoin. Users can also shop with the digital coins in PayPal’s retail network.
Venmo, the mobile wallet owned by PayPal, is expected to begin offering the same services in the first half of this year. The features will also be extended to international markets.
PayPal plans to invest its money in companies that provide “complementary assets to our platform” that can drive growth, Rainey said. The company also announced Thursday it would introduce its buy, sell and hold crypto services to the United Kingdom in the near future.
“The types of services that we’re providing, like buy now, pay later [and] crypto as an example — even offline QR code — those are the types of things that we want to continue to invest in, be it organically or even inorganically when we see opportunities in the ecosystem,” he explained.
Buy now, pay later is a point-of-sale loan program that works much like layaway plans, allowing shoppers to pay for products via an installment plan with no interest or fees.
The crypto comments come as activity in crypto markets has picked up this year. Tesla made a splash earlier this week when the company disclosed that it purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would also begin accepting the currency as a form of payment from customers. That followed a surge in interest for dogecoin, the digital coin that was blessed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on his Twitter page.
Tesla’s move to invest in bitcoin sparked wonders in the investment community if other companies would follow in the carmarker’s footsteps. Earlier Thursday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that the topic was discussed but that the company ultimately declined to invest in the digital currency.
Schulman, who appeared alongside Rainey in the “Mad Money” interview, said PayPal grew free cash low by 48% in 2020 to $5 billion. He forecasts the company will generate $10 billion of annual free cash flow by 2025.
PayPal will be a consolidator in the financial technology industry, he said.
“We want to use that cash. We want to use our balance sheet as a strategic weapon,” Schulman said. “That may be returning cash to shareholders and it may be through acquisition, but every one of those dollars matter to us and we really take our capital allocation quite seriously.”
Last month, PayPal made its first acquisition since announcing in late 2019 that it would buy coupon aggregator Honey Science for $4 billion. PayPal took 100% control of the GoPay payment platform, which is based in China, in a deal that closed on Jan. 11.
Funds Flowing Into Crypto Space Hits $1.5 Billion Last Week
New money flowing into cryptocurrency space rose to a record-high of $1.47 billion last week, according to a report by CoinShares.
The huge capital inflow was after the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission approved Bitcoin ETF investing in futures and the broad-based rally that followed the announcement. Year-to-date, investors have dumped a total of $8 billion into crypto funds.
Bitcoin, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, rose to an all-time high of $66,974 per coin last week.
Most of the inflows go into Bitcoin-focused funds, Bitcoin focused funds accounted for 99 percent of all the $1.47 billion inflows recorded last, up from the $70 million Bitcoin exposed funds attracted in the previous week.
CoinShares attributed Bitcoin’s new attraction to the two bitcoin futures listed after SEC approval.
“This is a direct result of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowing a bitcoin ETF investing in futures and the consequent listing of two bitcoin investment products,” the report noted.
SEC had approved the first Bitcoin futures ETF, ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, on October 15, 2021. It was the approval that drove Bitcoin back to $60,000 a coin before it set a new all-time record.
However, while Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain and the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, also reached an all-time high at $4,361 a coin last week, funds exposed to Ether saw outflows for a third consecutive week. Ether outflows stood at $1.4 million last, stated the report.
“This is minor profit-taking as the price closes in on all-time highs.”
Altcoins like Solana (SOL) also saw inflows at $8.1 million, Cardano (ADA) and Binance coin (BNB) attracted inflows estimated at $5.3 million and $1.8 million, respectively.
President Buhari Says E-Naira Could Increase Nigeria’s GDP By $29 Billion
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement signed by the Presidential spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina and made available to the media at the unveiling of Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency, the E-Naira, said that the new digital currency has the potential to increase Nigeria’s GDP by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
The President reiterated that the launch of the E-Naira makes Nigeria the first country in Africa and one of the first few countries in the world to launch a digital currency. He further said he expects the currency to enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for government welfare programs as well as foster cross-border trade and assist in moving many more people and businesses from the informal sector into the formal sector, therefore, increasing the tax base of the country.
The President then congratulated the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, his deputies, and the entire team of staff who worked tirelessly to make the launch of the currency a reality.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), the approved body for operating digital communications of the Presidency, said that Nigeria will surpass the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projections of 2.6 percent economic growth in 2021 and 2.7 percent growth in 2022. The Group believes under President Buhari, the non-oil sector is progressing and this can be seen in the sector’s contribution to the GDP of Nigeria.
Mr. Niyi Akinsiju, the chairman of the organization, and Mr. Cassidy Madueke said this in a statement in Abuja. The full statement given by the organization said ” This is not the first time that the IMF is making such projections, but Nigeria never ceases to disappoint it by recording higher economic growth. In 2019, IMF projected a 2.1 percent economic growth for Nigeria, but against its prediction, Nigeria recorded real growth of 2.27 percent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The statement further said “In a like manner in 2021, the IMF also projected that Nigeria’s economy would fall by 5.4 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It later reversed its projection to 4.3 percent, but contrary to that, Nigeria recorded 1.8 percent.
eNaira: Buhari, Emefiele Launch eNaira at State House Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele on Monday, October 25, 2021 officially launched eNaira, Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in state house Abuja.
Nigeria is now one of the few countries to have launched digital currency ahead of nations like the United States, United Kingdom, etc.
The CBN believed eNaira will help plug loopholes in the financial system, curb illicit financial flows, strengthen security, improve data collection and monitoring.
Speaking on why he approved CBN’s decision to launch a digital currency, the president explained that his approval was “underpinned by the fact that the CBN has been a leading innovator in the form of money they produce, and in the payment services they deploy for efficient transactions.”
“They have invested heavily in creating a Payment System that is ranked in the top ten in the world and certainly the best in Africa,” the president said at the event in Abuja.
“This payment system now provides high‐value and time‐critical payment services to financial institutions, and ultimately serves as the backbone for every electronic payment in Nigeria.”
President Buhari further said, “estimate suggests the adoption of new CBN digital currency is estimated to increase Nigeria’s GDP by $29 billion over the next 10 years.
“We have become the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to introduce a digital currency to our citizens.”
Africa’s largest economy has now launched two mobile applications for eNaira – eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet – on Google playstore and Apple store to facilitate adoption and usage.
These applications tell eNaira potential users to“Get Ready With Your Accurate BVN Data For Your Hitch-Free Enrolment.
“To sign-up on the eNaira speed wallet, you would be required to input the following details exactly as captured during your BVN enrollment.
“First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, State of Origin, and Email.
“Your Banks are waiting to assist you in validating and updating your BVN details to ensure seamless enrolment to the eNaira Platform.”
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