PayPal establishes advisory council for crypto and blockchain

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Major U.S.-based payment processor PayPal has assembled a team of industry experts to act as advisors on crypto, blockchain, and digital currencies. 

In a Tuesday announcement, PayPal said the addition of six members to its Blockchain, Crypto and Digital Currencies advisory council would help support its current and future products as well as its goal of creating a more inclusive digital financial ecosystem. Fortress Investment Group co-CEO Peter Briger, Georgetown University Law Center professor Chris Brummer, Weizmann Institute of Science professor Shafi Goldwasser, former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chair Timothy Massad, MIT Sloan School of Management finance professor Antoinette Schoar, and MIT Digital Currency Initiative director Neha Narula will be joining the PayPal initiative.

“We believe it is crucial to engage with the world’s best leaders to better understand the industry's most compelling opportunities and complex challenges,” said Jose Fernandez da Ponte, PayPal’s senior vice president and general manager for blockchain, crypto, and digital currencies.

All six advisers carry years of experience from the crypto and blockchain space from a business or regulatory perspective. Briger was reportedly the one responsible for advising Softbank Group founder Masayoshi Son to invest millions in Bitcoin (BTC) prior to the 2017 bull run. Goldwasser was part of a group of MIT researchers who proposed zero-knowledge proof as an encryption scheme long before the advent of crypto.

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During her time with the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, Narula has been in charge of an initiative to help the federal reserve bank of Boston build a digital currency aimed at scaling for consumer use. Brummer was reportedly a candidate for CFTC chair before President Joe Biden officially nominated Rostin Behnam. Massad, who served as CFTC chair from 2014 to 2017, argued after he left his position that regulators should approve an exchange-traded fund offering exposure to BTC.

Related: Visa announces new crypto consulting service for merchants and banks

It’s unclear if the advisory group is aimed at expanding PayPal’s foray into crypto and blockchain. The payments app announced in October 2020 it would be allowing customers based in the United States to purchase cryptocurrencies through the platform, later expanding this offering to include crypto payments at millions of its global merchants. The firm is reportedly planning to launch its own stablecoin named PayPal Coin.



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