Editorial

Er, OK then: PayPal raises eyebrows with unexpected Blockchain AND Digital Identity move

‘We made an investment in [this company] because it is applying Blockchain for Digital Identity in a way that we believe could benefit financial services companies, including PayPal’

Posted 3 April 2019 by

Ecommerce giant Paypal has made a surprise investment – its first – in a Blockchain start-up, Cambridge Blockchain.

Focused on developing a digital wallet employing both Blockchain and Digital Identity approaches, Cambridge Blockchain says it works to return control of personal data back to users while delivering the benefits of trusted, distributed identity to consumers and organisations.

Founded in 2015, Cambridge Blockchain has since rapidly grown across three continents, with US, French and Asia-Pac offices, with a product called IDBridge.

From what we know, the idea is give users a lot of control of who uses their data as well as how to verify their identity – with the move is being interpreted by the US financial press as significant in terms of indicating what PayPal’s long-term plans for distributed ledger might be going forward, with a representative telling Forbes magazine that, “We made an investment in [this company] because it is applying Blockchain for Digital Identity in a way that we believe could benefit financial services companies, including [us].”

The move is also interesting as after a 2015 dabble into the Bitcoin waters, the firm has held off from other cryptocurrency involvement.

Commenting on the move, Norwegian cryptocurrency news site CCN comments that, “While many crypto-enthusiasts would probably rather see Paypal enabling crypto payments within its massive user base, it’s nevertheless a positive sign for Paypal to be making moves in the blockchain space at all.”

It also points out that unlike traditional banks and technology companies, who have dozens of blockchain-related patents, Paypal has just one such patent.