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Xapo CEO Wences Casares Joins PayPal’s Board of Directors

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PayPal Holdings, Inc., an American online payments operator, has announced the appointment of Wences Casares, CEO of Bitcoin startup Xapo, to its board of directors.

Starting January 12, 2016, Casares has officially begun to serve on PayPal’s Compensation Committee as the ninth member of PayPal’s board of directors, to help PayPal transform the management and movement of money with his expertise in next-generation payment and cryptocurrencies.

“I join PayPal’s directors and the entire PayPal team in welcoming Wences to our Board,” said Dan Schulman, President and CEO of PayPal. “Wences’ unique line of sight into the future of commerce is ideally aligned with PayPal’s vision of transforming the management and movement of money for people around the globe.”

As the founder and CEO of Xapo, Casares has been recognized as one of the early pioneers of bitcon, promoting its mainstream popularity and security-focused technologies. Casares led the creation of Xapo’s secure Vault, the Xapo Debit Card and Xapo wallet, which enable anyone to store Bitcoin in a safe cold storage, use Bitcoin in stores that accept credit cards, and settle simple Bitcoin transactions with ease.

“I am honored to serve on the board of an iconic global company dedicated to driving the transformation of money on a global scale,” Casares said. “I look forward to working together with the PayPal board and leadership team to continue to deliver their compelling vision.”

The PayPal team further emphasized Casares’ efforts in transforming the finance sector in the U.S., South America, and Europe, with his successful technology and financial ventures. He also founded a Brazilian retail bank known as Banco Lemon, and mobile payment networks including Bling Nation and Lemon Wallet.

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Since 2013, PayPal has consistently demonstrated interest in Bitcoin and the application of the distributed ledger technology. Former PayPal president David Marcus explained three years ago that “Bitcoin has a better chance at revolutionizing commerce than the NFC tap-to-pay technology,” and admitted that he owned bitcoins himself.

“People are confused. They think because it’s called cryptocurrency it’s a currency. I don’t think it is a currency. It’s a store of value, a distributed ledger. It’s a great place to put assets, especially in places like Argentina with 40 percent inflation, where $1 today is worth 60 cents in a year, and a government’s currency does not hold value,” said Marcus.

Current President and CEO of PayPal Dan Schulman also showed his optimistic view toward bitcoin in December of 2015, when he hinted that PayPal could “integrate bitcoin through Coinbase into our Braintree platform.”

Schulman further explained in an interview that the blockchain technology of the Bitcoin network is promising and has many interesting applications in the finance sector.

“I think you separate out blockchain the technology and the protocol from things like Bitcoin, even though a lot of people conflate the two. I think there are a lot of interesting things about the blockchain technology and the promise of what it could be. The problem right now is that you have a lot of so-called currencies tied to this technology,” said Schulman.

Regardless of the appointment of Casares and PayPal’s optimistic view toward Bitcoin and blockchain technology, it will be difficult for the corporation to integrate Bitcoin due to strict financial regulations and policies. However, Casares will work with PayPal to utilize his expertise in innovative financial technologies and cryptocurrencies to transform PayPal’s existing payment systems.