Paypal Invests in Blockchain, Targets Identity Ownership as Niche

PayPal, a great force in Financial Technology as a way of handling online and real-life payments, has finally decided to dabble in the world of Blockchain. While the market itself is saturated with multiple corporations having their own form of cryptocurrency, PayPal chooses to advertise identity ownership as its selling point to consumers. Joining a Series A investment in Cambridge Blockchain, PayPal aims to give consumers the capability to control and have ownership of their identities without the need of using third-party systems like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media applications.

Much like Bitcoin lets its users store value without a bank, PayPal plans to do the same thing with blockchain technology, giving them ownership over their own identities instead of money.

As much as it is PayPal’s first investment in blockchain technology, the company is already exploring ways to integrate Cambridge Blockchain’s system. Ideally, the platform would allow users to prove their identities while still disallowing personal information from being unnecessarily shared to other users. Given the way blockchain works, only the user identified as the owner of the data will be able to access and alter the information, with copies of the data existing across every user. This means that the true owner of that data will be able to add information, making it impossible to alter and tamper the data. It is similar to Facebook login, but the users have the capability to control who gets to see the information used to prove who they are.

Prior to the announcement PayPal’s only known blockchain investment was a patent filed in March 2018 in order to speed up cryptocurrency transaction rates for users who used cryptocurrency in their financial transactions, as well as an internal project to incentivize employee participation using tokens created on blockchain technology. However, today's announcement provides some of the clearest evidence regarding $121 billion PayPal might employ for blockchain technology and systems in the future.

According to a PayPal spokesperson, PayPal has made an investment in Cambridge Blockchain because it is applying blockchain for digital identity in a way that they believe could benefit financial services companies. This clarifies that while the blockchain investment was primarily for the use of PayPal, the investment was funding to further research as to how blockchain could be applied through this method.

Cambridge’s technology is said to provide more than 600 thousand users with the capability to have increased control over their identities across the internet. Foxconn, the makers of Apple’s iPhone, is utilizing this technology in other ways, including removing the need for a central warehouse by connecting manufacturers and suppliers directly.

Cambridge Blockchain envisions a future where users have a lot more direct control over their personal data, which means greater control of online identities and financial transactions. The corporation wants to free users from being locked to their social media accounts as the basis of their online identities.

PayPal and Cambridge Blockchain did not disclose the amount of investment. However, recent filings with the SEC indicate that PayPal raised Neither PayPal nor Cambridge Blockchain disclosed the investment amount.

Although it seems as though Cambridge Blockchain and PayPal have differences in terms of the fields they specialize in, it is clear that the collaboration between the two corporations leads to the growth of both. While PayPal focuses its exploration on how to apply this technology financially, Cambridge Blockchain expands the system by working to move identities for a wider range of uses to any number of private or public blockchain. Ultimately, both corporations are taking major leaps in establishing innovations within the field of Blockchain.

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