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PayPal CFO Says Company is Unlikely to Invest Cash in Cryptocurrencies

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Paypal

PayPal CFO Says Company is Unlikely to Invest Cash in Cryptocurrencies

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.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Bitcoin

MicroStrategy Dumps Over $1 Billion on Bitcoin, Now Holds $4.78 Billion BTC

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Bitcoin

MicroStrategy Dumps Over $1 Billion on Bitcoin, Now Holds $4.78 Billion BTC

MicroStrategy, a business intelligence firm, announced it has purchased another 19,452 Bitcoin worth $1.026 billion.

The company joined Square and other companies that bought the dip witnessed earlier this week after Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Janet Yellen commented on the fast-rising digital currency.

MicroStrategy now holds 90,531 Bitcoin worth $4.78 billion, more than Elon Musk’s Tesla acquisition of $1.5 billion.

Michael Saylor, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MicroStrategy continues to pursue a coin acquisition strategy now codified in the business intelligence company’s mission.

Square purchased 3,318 Bitcoin at an estimated $170 million value on Tuesday when the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency dipped to $45,000 before rebounding to the current level.

Bitcoin presently trading at $49.233.71 per coin as of the time of writing.

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Cryptocurrency

CBN, SEC Anchor Cryptocurrency Ban on Financial System Protection

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CBN, SEC Anchor Cryptocurrency Ban on Financial System Protection

The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday said the bank’s decision to prohibit deposit money banks, non-banking institutions and other financial institutions from facilitating trading and dealings in cryptocurrency was in the best interest of Nigerian depositors and the country’s financial system.

Emefiele said this while briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market, on its directive to institutions under its regulation.

These were according to a statement from CBN titled ‘Cryptocurrency: We acted in Nigerians’ best interest – Emefiele’.

Describing the operations of cryptocurrencies as dangerous and opaque, the CBN governor said the use of cryptocurrency contravened an existing law.

He said the fact that cryptocurrencies were issued by unregulated and unlicensed entities made it contrary to the mandate of the bank, as enshrined in the CBN Act (2007) declaring the bank as the issuer of legal tender in Nigeria.

Emefiele, who also differentiated between digital currencies, which central banks could issue and cryptocurrencies issued by unknown and unregulated entities, stressed that the anonymity, obscurity and concealment of cryptocurrencies made it suitable for those who indulge in illegal activities such as money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons and tax evasion.

Citing instances of investigated criminal activities that had been linked to cryptocurrencies, he stated that the legitimacy of money and the safety of Nigeria’s financial system was central to the mandate of the CBN.

He declared that cryptocurrency was not legitimate money because it was not created or backed by any central bank.

“Cryptocurrency has no place in our monetary system at this time and cryptocurrency transactions should not be carried out through the Nigerian banking system,” he said.

Also speaking, the Director-General, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Lamido Yuguda, clarified that there was no policy contradiction between the CBN directive and the pronouncements made by the SEC on the subject of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria.

He explained that the SEC made its pronouncement at the time to provide regulatory certainty within the digital asset space due to the growing volume of reported flaws.

Prior to the CBN directive, he said, the SEC had in 2017 cautioned the public on the risks involved in investing in digital and cryptocurrency.

He said that the CBN, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation and the SEC had between 2018 and 2020 issued warnings on the lack of protection in investments in cryptocurrency.

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Cryptocurrency

Demand for Crypto Debit Cards Surges 194% in 12 Months

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Demand for Crypto Debit Cards Surges 194% in 12 Months

Data presented by Crypto Parrot indicates that global interest in the keyword ‘crypto debit card’ has surged by 194.1% over the last 12 months on the Google Search platform. The interest attained a peak popularity score of 100 in February 2021 while a year ago it was at 34.

Among countries, Nigeria leads with a peak popularity score of 100 followed by Australia at 45. The Netherlands ranks third with a score of 44 followed by Canada at 40 while the United States comes in fifth at 39.

Interest from the United Kingdom ranks sixth with a score of 36 followed by India at 15 while Germany is eighth with a score of 12.

Entry of payment companies into crypto fuels interest

Several factors have led to the strong interest in crypto debit cards mainly due to the increased adoption of digital assets. The report highlights other drivers for the interest. According to the research report:

“Furthermore, there has been an explosion of companies like Visa and Mastercard getting involved in crypto payment systems through debit cards. At the same time, more merchants are increasingly adding digital currencies to payment methods. It is, therefore, logical that people would be interested in acquiring crypto debit cards.”

Being a new financial phenomenon, crypto debit cards might face regulatory hurdles from non-crypto friendly jurisdictions.

In general, the crypto debit cards are helping holders get involved in the digital assets’ space while bridging the gap between the digital asset world and traditional finance space.

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