Freelancers, digital nomads and internet-based workers the world over will have something to smirk about this morning, when they wake up to the news that PayPal may be starting to see the lack of wisdom in their own business model.
PayPal recently initiated a cryptocurrency-based incentive system for its in-house staff, as covered earlier on CCN. This news was followed immediately by an announcement by prominent cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, that it would now facilitate fiat withdrawals to customers’ PayPal accounts.
After filing a patent for its own blockchain-based solutions earlier this year, it seems as though PayPal is dipping more than just its toe into crypto waters. The firm’s Google Play app was recently overtaken by the crypto-friendly Square Cash App, and the road to a crypto/blockchain conversion appears more likely by the day.
Coinbase – PayPal Withdrawals
As per the Coinbase blog announcement:
“Starting today, U.S. customers can instantly withdraw Coinbase balances to PayPal, providing even faster access to their funds through one of the world’s easiest and most widely-used payment platforms. These withdrawals are not only fast; they’re free and incur no fees.”
Coinbase had apparently been responding to demand from its customers regarding the introduction of a PayPal option. According to the post:
“Coinbase customers have been clear: you want to be a part of the open financial system. We believe that means more than just owning cryptocurrency — it means having the flexibility to use it how and when you want.”
No longer will U.S customers require an ACH or federal wire account to withdraw funds. Although, one presumes that PayPal will still have to be linked to existing bank accounts if any large amounts of money are to be transferred.
The new feature is already available for U.S-based customers, while global customers will have to wait until an unspecified date in 2019.
Escape PayPal? Or Absorbed By It?
Anyone who’s used PayPal for any length of time will have become familiar with its unreasonable, and dare I say, unethical fee structure.
According to a recent survey, 29% of freelancers would prefer to be paid in cryptocurrency, rather than via existing systems. Given the general ease-of-use of PayPal for even the non-technically minded, that’s quite the indictment.
Currently holding the same market cap as the entire crypto space, PayPal now has the option to edge closer towards becoming more crypto-like, with exchange compatibility, lower fees, and who knows – maybe future crypto wallets and instant exchange rates.
The other option is one where the corporate monster throws on some crypto-friendly clothes to attract people in the short term, but ultimately reverts to type with profit-maximizing practices in the long-term – not unlike a troubled French president at the moment.
Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.