digital assets

PayPal Announces Checkout with Crypto; Bakkt Launches Digital Wallet App

Paying with cryptocurrency, settling in fiat
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Cryptocurrency ownership is on the rise. The digital wallet space is saturated. If you want to compete with Coinbase for market share, you’ll need unique functionality.

And yesterday, we saw two Fortune 500 companies roll out new features to that effect.

Starting in Palo Alto

PayPal is now letting users pay with bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, and litecoin. Why no dogecoin? It’s an utter mystery.

Checkout with Crypto will instantly convert a user’s crypto into fiat currency at the time of purchase, then process the order with a merchant and without a transaction fee. In the coming months, the checkout feature will work with the 29 million online merchants in PayPal’s network.

While we’re in the early innings of cash → digital money, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman wrote in Fortune, “The time is ripe to modernize and upgrade the underlying technological infrastructure of the financial system.”

Hopping over to Atlanta

Bakkt is finally releasing its digital wallet app, as we reported. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Bakkt is the crypto-focused subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), parent to the New York Stock Exchange.

  • The 228-year-old stonk exchange is on Wall Street, but Bakkt and ICE are based in Atlanta.

Bakkt App’s pitch: A digital wallet for crypto and siloed digital assets that don’t run on a blockchain: loyalty points, airline miles, gift cards, and stored merchant value.

Bakkt hopes to differentiate by setting exchange rates and being a clearinghouse for all of the above assets. Trade fiat for crypto, or frequent flier miles for Iced Brown Sugar Oat Milk Shaken Espressos.

  • Bakkt App had 500,000+ users in an invite-only beta run.
  • Merchant partners include Starbucks, Best Buy, Fiserv, GolfNow, and Choice Hotels.
  • Bakkt is working with Microsoft and “very much thinking about how we start to disrupt around in-game assets,” CEO Gavin Michael told us.
  • Read our full exclusive here.

Big picture: PayPal and Bakkt are converting crypto into fiat before clearing transactions with merchants. But as more companies (like Tesla) directly accept bitcoin, crypto-native settlement layers could become more common. Faster, fee-free transactions could remove some current headaches associated with hodling.

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