The very idea of Libra has taken the cryptocurrency world by storm of late. And though there are still many who question why exactly Facebook is launching a cryptocurrency, or whether development and rollout will go smoothly, it’s time to take this story seriously. All indications are that Facebook and its significant collection of developing partners are pumping serious investments into Libra, with the goal to make it a fully functioning, innovative, and appealing new crypto option from day one.
One reason Facebook may actually be able to pull this off is that PayPal is among those developing partners. The industry-leading payment processing company has until now been reluctant to get involved with cryptocurrency but is now lined up to be associated with Libra. Now, this could be a simple investment, so that PayPal has a piece of an asset that it views as a potential competitor. But the Libra announcements and early news have made it seem much more like the partner companies are taking an active role in shaping Libra, which makes us wonder what PayPal might be looking to do with it.
Considering that question, there are a number of things PayPal already does that it could help Libra to get involved with as well.
Serving the unbanked
PayPal has always sought to serve the underserved and unbanked, which lines up exactly with the potential of Libra and cryptocurrencies in general. The simple fact in the modern world is that there are tens of millions of people — perhaps hundreds of millions — who have access to mobile phones and the internet but not to banks. These are the “unbanked” that PayPal has been able to help in the past, and they’re also something of a target market for cryptos. For these reasons, it won’t be a surprise at all if PayPal makes Facebook’s cryptocurrency available in these communities.
This idea hardly requires an explanation. But simply put, if Facebook wants Libra to break through more than other cryptos have in the digital retail space, PayPal is the partner best equipped to make it happen. With existing relationships with innumerable companies across the internet, PayPal has the relationships and infrastructure needs to turn Libra into an acceptable payment option at stores.
PayPal is also one of the most popular methods of payment across various types of video gaming. Maybe most commonly, PayPal can be used to pay for games and additional content on Xbox and PlayStation consoles, meaning it accounts for a massive portion of mainstream game purchases. Additionally, the casino gaming genre is more or less defined by a collection of PayPal-driven sites in the UK. So, whether it’s to download the latest PS4 game, or to place a deposit on a poker or slot site, PayPal is a go-to method – and Libra could become the same.
Debit card spending
PayPal could also work with some of the banking partners that have signed on for Libra development to make a debit card holding Libra value. The company already released a debit card a few years ago, effectively changing the game for payment processors. And recently we’ve also seen several different companies coming out with cards designed to make crypto spending easier at real-world stores. Adding up these trends and developments, it certainly seems possible that PayPal will help to support a Libra-powered debit card as well.