Worldpay Can't Find a use for Blockchain, PayPal Pays $2.2 Billion in iZettle Deal and a Blockchain Router Announced

A slight slip for the cryptocurrency markets overnight, Bitcoin down again from $8294 to $8100, Ethereum also down a little from $704 to $680 and the global cryptocurrency market cap taking a small hit, down from $383 billion to just under $371 billion.

PayPal making headlines today with a potentially very telling announcement of a whopping $2.2 billion deal to acquire iZettle – a small business commerce platform in Europe and Latin America. The deal gains sizable in-store retail exposure for PayPal in their bid to become the major cashless payment processors of the future without the use of blockchain. Former PayPal execs have spurned the concept of blockchain as an efficient financial processing solution – largely because they’ve only seen as far as Bitcoin and not looked further into the underlying technology. Quite whether the “juice is worth the squeeze” with respect to spending significant sums of cash acquiring another non-blockchain oriented business remains to be seen – the deal does bring some half a million merchants into the PayPal stable, but is that enough to keep them ahead of the cryptocurrency and blockchain game?

An equally odd announcement from another payment processor – Worldpay. Head of Technology Operations, Jason Scott-Taggart said in an interview with Computer Weeklyalthough the company is looking at blockchain, there are too few strong use cases for the technology at present” and went on to say “You’d be surprised, but in payments blockchain is not as disruptive as people assume it is. There’s not a lot of demand for cryptocurrencies, and blockchain as a technology is not something we have seen a good application for in what we do yet”. I’m not sure when the last time anyone at Worldpay last looked at uses for blockchain, it’s capabilities, current use cases, or the increasing number of major financial institutions finally beginning to embrace it after spending more than five minutes understanding what it is and is capable of.

Are PayPal and Worldpay right in continuing to avoid blockchain? The Old Money cynics would no doubt gladly have us believe they are correct despite major financial institutions sharply changing tack and embracing the inevitable (JP Morgan et-al). On the other hand, imagine a system that enabled the possibility of multi-blockchain infrastructure where multiple blockchains can be queried essentially via API endpoints? (as opposed to having download and maintain multiple chains). Intrigued? Take a look at the “blockchain router” announcement from Blocknet – if it can do what they claim reliably there will be some very sad faces on those that fail to embrace new tech in the not too distant future.

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Created: Friday, May 18, 2018

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