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Terms were not disclosed, but a report last week suggested PayPal may pay as much as $500 million for the Tel Aviv, Israel-based firm. A second report from Calcalist reported the sale price would be between $200 million and $300 million.
"The acquisition of Curv is part of our effort to invest in the talent and technology to realize our vision for a more inclusive financial system," said Jose Fernandez da Ponte, vice president and general manager of blockchain, crypto and digital currencies for PayPal, in a statement. "During our conversations with Curv's team, we've been impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit and the thinking behind the technology they've built in the last few years. We're excited to welcome the Curv team to PayPal."
PayPal had previously tried to purchase BitGo, a similar company to Curv, but that deal fell through in December. Curv provides secure, distributed architecture for digital transactions taking place on blockchain technology.
The payment provider announced in November 2020 that U.S. account holders could buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies in their PayPal wallets, with a weekly purchase limit of $20,000. PayPal's system accepts Bitcoin (BTC-USD), Ether (ETH-USD), Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD) and Litecoin (LTC-USD).
PayPal has a separate business division dedicated to blockchain, crypto and digital currencies.
Curv was founded in 2018 by CEO Itay Malinger and CTO Dan Yadlin.
"As a pioneer in security infrastructure for digital assets, Curv is proud to be recognized as an innovator and trusted partner to leading financial institutions around the world," said Malinger. "Now, as the adoption of digital assets accelerates, we feel there's no better home than PayPal to continue our journey of innovation. We're excited to join PayPal in expanding the role these assets play in the global economy."
PayPal expects the transaction to close in the first half of this year.
John Rainey, CFO and EVP of global customer operations for PayPal, while speaking during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference last Tuesday, noted the potential for cryptocurrencies and digital currencies in the U.S.
"Asia, to me, is like it's a shining example because in many ways, they are far ahead of the rest of the world in digital payments," he said. "And you just take Asia broadly, 40% of in-store payments are done with the digital wallet. In the U.S., that's less than 10%. And so not only is there a lot of addressable market or opportunity in Asia, there's even more in the U.S. in some of our core markets. So this is where we see a lot of that growth."
Rainey added that PayPal believes it can continue to provide the services its customers need without creating a financial institution.
"Our current expectations are that to provide the services that we want for our merchants and consumers around the world, we don't need to be a bank, at least as it pertains to the United States ... but this is where I think we can partner with many others, whether we're talking about crypto or high-yield savings account or even financial services," he said.
Payment firms are quickly adopting cryptocurrencies, believing they provide a streamlined experience for global e-commerce by eliminating the need for sellers to convert funds to local currency and allowing the global consumer to pay in whatever form is easiest for them.
In its year-end earnings report, Square (NYSE: SQ) said it had purchased approximately 3,318 bitcoins at a cost of $170 million. The company previously had purchased $50 million in bitcoin. Square lets users buy bitcoin with its Square Cash App, accelerating adoption of its app.
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten recently announced holders of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin cash could purchase items on its platform. Luxury performance apparel retailer Ultracor also announced that it would accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method.
On Feb. 17, OLB Group (NASDAQ: OLB), a provider of omnicommerce and payment solutions for small and midsized merchants, announced its SecurePay payment platform could conduct transactions in cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency wallets can be used directly at any point of sale utilizing OLB's OmniSoft cloud-based business services platform solutions, it said. Also, general-purpose wallet services — including Apple Pay and Google Pay — can be used to make purchases at any point of sale serviced by OLB's SecurePay gateway.
Josh Brooks, head of marketing at OnBuy.com, said that cryptocurrencies represent an opportunity for retailers to reach new customers.
"With the ability to appease consumer demand for immediacy and security, while expanding market share for retailers, cryptocurrencies could prove extremely beneficial for the e-commerce industry if adopted efficiently," Brooks wrote in a recent commentary for Global Banking and Finance Review. "More and more companies have grown to understand these benefits, leading to a surge in consumer attention, and it may not be long before we start to see the commercial use of cryptocurrency as standard."
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