Ryze Recap 6/23: Venmo and PayPal Bringing Bitcoin to 375 Million Consumers

What we know, what we're watching, and why it matters.

It’s Tuesday, June 23rd. If you’re new here— Ryze Recaps is a daily newsletter covering the top stories that Bitcoiners need to know in 2 minutes or less.

We’ve got one momentous story for you today.

Venmo and PayPal To Enable Bitcoin Buys and Sells

In 2010, PayPal froze the funds in an account associated with WikiLeaks, starting a battle that ultimately brought immense attention to Bitcoin— which became WikiLeaks’ preferred donation method for a period of time, for better or for worse.

Ten years later, PayPal, now the parent company of Venmo, plans to roll out crypto-asset buys and sales. Together, the two companies serve over 375 Million users worldwide.

What we know:

  • Three sources have stated on-the-record that PayPal/Venmo will offer direct purchases and sales of crypto-assets to consumers, and will have in-app wallet functionality. They’re working with “multiple exchanges to source liquidity” and the service may be available “in the next three months.” PayPal and Venmo haven’t officially confirmed or denied.

  • Earlier this year, PayPal CTO Sri Shivananda stated “We are a strong believer in the potential of blockchain,” adding that PayPal was exploring “how the technology itself can contribute to the concept of creating an open digital payments platform that can serve everyone.”

Why it matters:

  • PayPal was one of the first consumer electronic payments platforms. Over two decades after its inception, the resilient but archaic fintech giant is starting to adopt the very technology that was created to disrupt money— Bitcoin.

  • Venmo is a household name in the US— “just Venmo me” has weaseled its way into everyday vernacular. In fact, it’s the biggest financial institution in terms of active digital users. Venmo offering Bitcoin support brings Bitcoin to millions of tech-savvy consumers, many of whom are Millennials that Bitcoin appeals to.

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  • PayPal and Venmo are the latest fintech incumbents to offer Bitcoin buys and sells, following in the footsteps of Cash App and Robinhood. Cash App and RH both offer other investment products and enable users to buy and sell stocks/equities. Venmo and PayPal, however, are primarily used only for payments and don’t currently offer any investment services. Depending on how it plays out, payment platforms offering Bitcoin support may shine a light on its use case for cross-border finance, not just as a long-term investment.

What we’re watching:

  • Will Bitcoin functionality be offered on both PayPal and Venmo? Venmo is primarily used by consumers to send money to each other. PayPal’s consumer-facing arm is widely used for remittances and eCommerce. Though initial functionality will just be buys and sells, Bitcoin could augment all three consumer use cases for both PayPal and Venmo.

  • Which assets will be supported? Jack Dorsey, and by extension— Cash App, is Bitcoin-only. Coinbase is more focused on blockchain holistically, supporting over 23 different crypto-assets in the US including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. PayPal CTO Sri Shivananda’s remarks seemed more focused on advancing blockchain technology as a whole, so they may offer more than only Bitcoin. It’ll be interesting to see which path PayPal and Venmo take.

That’s all for today, we’ll be back tomorrow with another Ryze Recap.

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Written by Ryze Financial— helping you understand and invest in Bitcoin, on your own terms.