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PayPal Creates Internal Blockchain Token for Employee Reward System

Distributed Summary:

  • Online payment system dabbles in cryptocurrency with blockchain-based token for employee perks
  • Filed patent for “expedited virtual currency transaction system” in March
  • Historically cold toward crypto/Bitcoin, this could signal shift from PayPal

PayPal recently launched a new internal incentive system for employees, making use of a blockchain and initiating participants into token economics.

As Cheddar reported, 25 PayPal engineers built the platform over a series of several months, which saw a launch in mid-November. Michael Todasco, PayPal’s director of innovation, was heavily involved in the project. The tokens will hold no value outside of the company but will be tradeable between employees. Every transaction will be posted to a digital ledger.

“Employees can access their tokens through the company's internal website and continue earning more by participating in innovation-related programs and contributing ideas,” per Cheddar.

PayPal employees can redeem their tokens for more than 100 “experiences” listed on the platform. These include experiences like “poker tournaments with a couple of their vice presidents, a trail run and coffee with CFO John Rainey, and morning martial arts with CEO Dan Schulman.”

Clearly, this internal program does not involve the critical aspects that make blockchain-based cryptocurrencies valuable. But the news that PayPal, perhaps the most significant worldwide online payments system, is even dabbling in digital currency and public transaction ledgers should be of interest to cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

PayPal has previously shown an overt hostility to the adoption of Bitcoin, making even this minor development a positive turn in their stance on token economics. Not only had PayPal disallowed the use of bitcoin for payments on its platform, but it has also been notoriously difficult to use fiat to purchase bitcoin on PayPal.

Nevertheless, in August 2016, PayPal “filed a patent for an expedited virtual currency transaction system that became public this March,” according to Cheddar.

Whether that filing resulted in this employee rewards system or is aimed at a different virtual currency effort is unclear. But any, even tangential, cryptocurrency efforts from a digital payments system behemoth like PayPal is worth paying attention to.

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