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PayPal has long been avoiding Bitcoin acceptance and did not consider it as potentially useful for its payments platform. However, it has recently published news about the launch of an internal blockchain-based employee incentive program. For the fulfillment of the project, which went live in November, PayPal created an innovation lab and involved the most experienced professionals in the field. The brand new blockchain platform has a crypto-token reward program. However, the tokens only have value within the system. The employees are able to earn tokens by generating ideas and joining innovation projects, and can then trade them among each other. The transactions that occur on the platform are recorded on its blockchain ledger and may be redeemed for a range of rewards or experiences. The latter include poker tournaments with the vice presidents of PayPal, a class of martial arts with the CEO Dan Schulman and borrowing the dog of the head of the investor relations. The question is whether this development will lead to further blockchain-related projects at PayPal.
The innovation lab mainly deals with prototypes. For instance, after a seres of voice technology studies, voice projects became a part of company’s development. Perhaps, the platform was created as a trial mechanism for an entirely blockchain-based system that PayPal might be interested in implementing, within the existing audience or as an external product. In any case, no confirmation statements have been made so far. The only thing we know for certain is that the lab is working on projects that might be potentially integrated into the existing system, but only if there is a particular need and prospect in doing so.
In May 2018, the company’s CFO John Rainey made a claim that Bitcoin is too volatile for its merchants, making a reference to the attitude of PayPal towards the crypto-currency industry. However, he also made it clear that PayPal might revise such attitude in case merchant demand increased.
Therefore, there is a possibility that the company is currently working on more relevant projects and ideas than it declares publicly. One of them could be related to improving the speed of crypto-currency payments. Regardless, it still seems to be far from any real developments. Let’s wait and see whether PayPal eventually comes up with something completely new for the market.