PayPal (PYPL) Goes After ‘Crypto-Curious’ Customers

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PayPal (PYPL) Goes After ‘Crypto-Curious’ Customers

PayPal Holdings, Inc.’s (PYPL) interest in cryptocurrencies is not new, but the corporation has taken the dive in the last quarter, delivering a slew of new services and solutions to its clients. In the first half of this year, the digital payments startup intends to grow further.

The business originally permitted its US consumers to trade cryptocurrency on its platform in October. According to PayPal’s investor presentation, the cryptocurrencies now accessible include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

PayPal will allow customers to trade cryptocurrency in the United Kingdom and a number of other foreign markets in the first half of 2021. It will also extend its cryptocurrency capabilities to Venmo, a payment software it purchased in 2014. PayPal revealed earlier this month that it has also launched a crypto-focused business unit and plans to enable customers to make bitcoin purchases via the app later this year.

“I would characterize the sort of customer on our platform right now as more crypto-curious,” PayPal CFO John Rainey said on the company’s fourth-quarter conference call earlier this month. “We’re not seeing these major day traders in crypto; it’s more of a casual client who is somewhat interested by this and now has a trusted digital platform where they can go out and acquire this, keep it, and ultimately be able to utilize it as a form of payment.” Rainey also said that PayPal has capacity constraints on its platform.

PayPal’s crypto expansion is in keeping with its ambition to become a one-stop shop, a more direct rival to a firm like Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s (BABA) AliPay in China, which offers a variety of services. “That’s essentially the promise of a super-app,” CEO Dan Schulman told MarketWatch, “where you can live a lot of your digital life on one app and then be able to handle all of your transactions in one place, monitor them all, and have tailored, customized suggestions.” PayPal also made investments in TaxBit, bitcoin tax software, and Paxos, a blockchain platform that PayPal utilizes to deliver crypto services, in the fourth quarter.

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PayPal’s cryptocurrency development, along with those of other market participants such as Visa Inc. (V), is anticipated to result in the so-called network effect and quicker adoption rates. “We are happy to collaborate with central banks and regulators across the globe to give our assistance and meaningfully contribute to determining the role of digital currencies in the future of global banking and trade,” Schulman added.

While Square, Inc. (SQ) authorized Bitcoin trading years ago, PayPal’s growth has been more slow. This development of services now corresponds with an increase in consumer knowledge and interest in cryptocurrency. According to the firm, individuals who purchase cryptocurrencies on PayPal log back into the app at double the rate they did before buying bitcoin.

“One of the things that I’m most pleased about is what we’re seeing with these users’ levels of engagement,” Rainey added. “This really aligns with this theory that we have about; when we add more goods and services that are appealing to our client base, it builds a stickiness to our platform where we are truly heading into this daily financial app, and we’re very thrilled about that.”

PayPal is still in its early stages, but this may change when consumers can use cryptocurrencies to make purchases and crypto trading becomes accessible in more areas. Customers will be able to pay with cryptocurrency at 29 million merchant locations by the end of the first quarter, according to the business.

“For us to see an outsized influence on our business, definitely to the point where it’s beginning to shift the dial on our overall growth statistics,” Rainey told analysts. “When we enable our clients to utilize crypto to purchase at our merchants, our network of [almost] 30 million merchants across the globe, that’s when this halo effect or indirect benefit becomes incredibly appealing on a margin basis, since the financing cost is so minimal.”

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