Tech

Ed Drake

PayPal rolls out blockchain rewards scheme for staff

Payments giant PayPal has become the latest company to deploy blockchain technology, in this case as a means of delivering a new incentive platform for the company’s employees, financial news outlet Cheddar reported.

Launched in November after six months in development at PayPal’s innovation lab in San Jose, California, the platform rewards employees with tokens for ideas, as well as participating in selected innovation-focused projects.

The tokens can even be traded among PayPal staff on a so-called “public ledger,” despite holding no value outside of the organization. The tokens can be redeemed for a number of ‘experiences’ made available through the platform, including opportunities to dine with senior company executives, or the chance to do martial arts with the CEO.

In another case, it’s even possible to borrow a dog—the beloved pet of head of investor relations, Gabrielle Scheibe Rabinovitch.

Tokens are created, stored and exchanged on a blockchain platform, with an interface available to PayPal employees through the firm’s internal website. Michael Todasco, the director of innovation at PayPal described the platform as a “Venmo-like feed people can like and comment on and see all the activity going on within PayPal related to innovation.”

The development is in contrast to PayPal’s stance against BTC, which has been a long-held position at the firm, citing concerns over the extreme volatility and likelihood of price drops. Yet it shows while PayPal is perhaps cold on crypto, it is bullish on the value of the underlying technology and its manifold applications.

The platform follows on from a patent application filed by the firm around an expedited virtual currency transaction system, which was disclosed to the public for the first time earlier this year.

The rewards system tracks a similar scheme set up by Spanish bank BBVA, which provides a platform for the benefit of some 4,000 employees between Spain and Argentina.

The bank offers tokens which can be exchanged for training, as well as giving employees the chance to earn tokens for training colleagues. The tokens themselves are held in ‘BBVA Campus Wallets’ assigned to each employee.

The PayPal system demonstrates the varied and creative ways companies are experimenting with blockchain systems, even beyond implementations within core business functions.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

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