Dan Schulman, CEO and Chairman of PayPal, said that the “time is now” for cryptocurrency in December 2020.
Schulman predicted that digital currencies would quickly enter the mainstream, even becoming a major day-to-day payments technology. He says that the coronavirus pandemic has “pushed those trends ahead by anywhere from three to five years [and] by five to six months.” It was actually lockdowns.
PayPal, as you probably know now, has recently started to let users buy and sell Bitcoin. Schulman points out that 360 million digital wallets are in existence. Mizuho Securities has been polling PayPal users, finding 65% will be using Bitcoin as currency with 28 million merchants on PayPal. Alongside bitcoins newest big players such as Square, MicroStrategy, and others, the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) raised $150 million to launch two new crypto investment funds aimed at investors looking to get into long-term bitcoin. In addition, Visa plans to support issuance of stablecoin credit cards in USDC.
Mass adoption is, of course, the end-goal for every crypto-blockchain project. We are seeing it already, with adoption of cryptocurrency debit cards. But cryptocurrency still leaves much to be desired in terms of usability.
For example, today, we are sending crypto funds using our public keys. That is, somebody else has to enter your private key, which is a long string of letters and numbers. That might be a lot of information to handle for beginners. Simplifying this process, but also making sure that this is a secure experience, would be the key path for faster adoption of cryptocurrency. Surprisingly few people own cryptocurrencies, relative to mainstream financial instruments, even though many know of Bitcoin.
We believe the reason is due to lack of convenience. To provide the convenience, we are going to have to design centralized tools for managing the cryptocurrency. In order to make the adoption of the decentralized technologies, they must be convenient. If somebody built the decentralized Internet, it must be convenient.
At this point, I would say that a major reason that most people are not interested in crypto, or did not go in, is that it is pretty difficult to get involved in it without doing quite a bit of research. However, as bad as the lockdowns were, it is done cryptocurrency many favors. People have had more time to study it, and, thanks to the stimulus checks being sent, people are investing in it, too. When users are looking for new investment opportunities, Bitcoin and other cryptos are going to stay on top. As I said, while this sounds terrible, the lockdowns has actually prompted widespread adoption of crypto.