PayPal boss says digital currencies are set to go mainstream

PayPal Holdings Inc chief executive officer Dan Schulman said the use of digital currencies is set to go mainstream as more merchants take a “digital first” approach to payments.

“The entire world is going to come into digital first,” Schulman said at the Web Summit conference on Wednesday.

Shops are moving to accept payments via smartphones and QR codes, even in-store, and more customers are starting to use digital wallets, which “are natural complements to digital currencies.”

PayPal announced in October that its customers can buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin from digital wallets, as well as use the virtual money to shop at the 26 million merchants on its network.

Asked about who he sees as PayPal’s biggest competitor, Schulman said he’s keeping an eye on Ant Financial.

China’s largest mobile-payment company has had “tremendous success” in the country, Schulman said, with a comprehensive digital wallet that includes “all elements of financial services, all elements of shopping.”

Schulman said PayPal’s biggest opportunity is to move away from cash and toward digital payments. While that trend has already been happening, “now with the pandemic, that’s accelerating and you’re seeing an explosion in digital payments,” he said.

PayPal’s shares dropped 1.5% to $213.34 at 2:57 p.m. in New York. The stock has climbed 97% this year, outpacing the 36% advance of the S&P 500 Information Technology Index.

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PayPal boss says digital currencies are set to go mainstream