This year may have been an unprecedented one in terms of the global pandemic and its impact on the markets, including cryptocurrency. But, when it comes to the adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in the mainstream space, there seems to be some big movements.
There is already a boom happening in regards to institutional investment interest in Bitcoin as derivatives trading across crypto exchanges from these major investors is up. Not to mention, CME and Baakt are also really taking root.
This also comes off the back of trading legend Paul Tudor Jones spelling out his belief that Bitcoin will be a top performer in his portfolio — despite only holding a small percentage across his investments. In general, the investment space in Bitcoin looks to be on the up with regards to traditional buyers.
But, there is a secondary trend that looks to be building. Payments companies are also looking at the blockchain and cryptocurrency space and wondering how they can be part of the emerging trend. This is not only interesting for the growth of Bitcoin and the likes, but a different direction for the major crypto.
Part of the reason that institutional investors are flocking to the crypto space is that Bitcoin has transitioned to be more of a digital gold than a payments network — but, the recent interest from payments networks may suggest there is more to Bitcoin that just buy and ‘hodl.’
Visa, and now PayPal
Visa has been in the cryptocurrency news recently with its apparent move towards crypto, and tokens. The major payments network is clearly not ready to be left behind by the wave of digital payments and blockchain-based tokens with the work it is doing.
But, now it is Visa’s FinTech Cousins, the likes of PayPal and Venmo, that are in the crypto news due to their own uptake in crypto possibilities. It has now been announced that PayPal will be rolling out direct sales of crypto to its 325 million users.
“My understanding is that they are going to allow buys and sells of crypto directly from PayPal and Venmo,” a well-placed industry source told CoinDesk. “They are going to have some sort of a built-in wallet functionality so you can store it there.”
In the light of these rumours, PayPal is also on the look out for crypto and blockchain experts according to their job listing boards.
One listing is for a job titled “Technical Lead – Crypto Engineer.” And it describes that this person will be responsible for “new initiatives for PayPal global with a focus on agility, time-to-market and innovation. The role includes designing, developing and maintaining key crypto products/features targeted towards availability, performance and scalability of PayPal services.”
Bitcoin to become the new cash?
Since Bitcoin was first created, it was purported to be the next wave of payments — digital cash — but, a lot has happened in the last 10 or so years. Bitcoin has evolved and changed to be far more of an investable asset, and has come to be known as such in the mainstream thanks to its volatility which has excited investors.
We are now seeing the wave of interest from all kinds of investors — from individuals to institutional — but could Bitcoin get back to its original cash-like roots? If PayPal, Visa and the likes have identified Bitcoin as something that can be used as a transactional, this could be the spur that sets it back towards this path.
Of course, there are other ways in which crypto, not just Bitcoin, could become the new digital cash. There are a number of cryptocurrencies already on the market aimed at being more cash like with quicker transactions and lower fees. But then there are also the stablecoins.
Stablecoins are far more appealing to people wanting to use blockchain for transacting, and they appeal more to regulators. It makes one wonder if this is not the path that the likes of Visa and PayPal will be walking down in the future.