PayPal Targets Identity Ownership With Its First Blockchain Investment

PayPal has joined a Series A investment in Cambridge Blockchain, a startup working to give individuals a way to own their own online identities without the need of middlemen like Facebook, much the way bitcoin lets its users store value without a bank.

As part of the investment, PayPal’s first in blockchain, the company is exploring how it might use Cambridge Blockchain’s platform to let its users prove who they are while still preventing personal information from being unnecessarily shared.

Think Facebook login, but where the users have control over who gets to see the information used to prove who they are.

Prior to today’s announcement PayPal’s only known blockchain work was a patent filed in March 2018 to speed up cryptocurrency transaction rates and an internal project to incentivize employee participation using tokens issued on a blockchain. But today’s announcement provides some of the clearest evidence yet about how the $121 billion PayPal might employ blockchain in the future.

“We made an investment in Cambridge Blockchain because it is applying blockchain for digital identity in a way that we believe could benefit financial services companies including PayPal,” a PayPal spokesperson told Forbes.

The funding is an extension of Cambridge Blockchain’s Series A funding round, revealed in May 2018, including a new investment from Omidyar Network. Neither PayPal nor Cambridge Blockchain disclosed the investment amount. Recent filings with the SEC, however, indicate the company raised $3.5 million in new equity since the initial $7 million round led by Foxconn’s HCM Capital.

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