Crypto developers have to be closely following customers if they want the industry to take off in a big way, Paypal’s chief technical officer said.
Sri Shivananda— an eBay veteran who has been with PayPal since 2016— made his remarks at the Global Business Summit in the Economic Times (ET), reported on March 9.
During his address, Shivananda noted that in many situations, cryptocurrency has become more akin to “asset play” than money. He said:
“The main thing to keep in mind in this business is to follow consumers. If consumers start to feel like there’s some leverage that they get through cryptocurrencies, everything else will automatically fall in line.”
Digitisation of the currency is a matter of “if not when”
From his perspective as a high-ranking executive in one of the oldest players in the digital payment industry, Shivananda believes that currency digitization is inevitable — not a question of “if, but when.” His future will take shape to represent customer engagement, merchants, fintech corporate regulators and governments, he said.
Alternatives to crypto-currency have already experienced considerable success, he noted. The Indian National Payments Corp operated a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) for e-commerce transactions, allowing micropayments and person-to-person payments:
“What has been done with UPI is truly inspiring. And it’s a model that has not only been implemented, but it’s working […] every country and every company around the world should look at and take inspiration from it and see if some of that can be replicated across the globe.”
Paypal’s decision to leave Facebook’s Libra
Shivananda used his Summit platform to comment on Paypal’s decision in October 2019 to withdraw from the Libra Association, approximately five months after joining the Project.
While the company at the time pointed to regulatory issues, Shivananda gave another reason to depart from PayPal. While the company initially believed that Libra was intended to help the “under-served, the people that are not supported by the system today,” he said PayPal later, “felt that was not going to be the case, in the short to medium term.”
The highly eventful period for India
Comments by Shivananda come in the midst of a highly eventful time for India’s cryptocurrency market.
The industry celebrated a landmark victory last week when the country’s Supreme Court overturned India’s Reserve Bank (RBI) ban on banks’ services to crypto-related firms.
Nonetheless, doubt lingers with reports RBI is planning to appeal the ruling. In addition, a delayed legislative bill whose future remains unclear will decide the possibility of restrictive crypto-specific regulation–even a possible ban on the asset class.