PayPal chief keen on Bitcoin, mobile payments; NFC “too little too late”

11 DEC 2013
David Marcus, PayPal

PayPal president David Marcus (pictured), speaking at the LeWeb conference in Paris on 10 December, spoke warmly about Bitcoin and mobile payments.

However, as reported by CNET, he repeated the firm’s long-standing scepticism about NFC technology.

Even though he owns bitcoins, Marcus nonetheless sees the digital “currency” as something for the future in terms of payments.

“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,” he said, quoted by CNET.

Another problem, added Marcus, is that bitcoins don’t have wide acceptance among merchants.

Marcus said he’s not yet ready to link bitcoin wallets with PayPal accounts.

On NFC, the PayPal president was scathing. He called it technology for technology’s sake. “Instead of swiping or using a PIN pad, they’re tapping. How is that really better? How is that changing your life? People don’t want that,” he said (again, quoted by CNET).

He argued that the real issue to be addressed is the lack of customer willingness to go to any sort of payment terminal.

“Today a merchant has internet connectivity at the point-of-sale terminal. All the consumers have phones with wireless networks,” he said. “Why do you need to be at a place in a store to make a payment? [NFC is] too little too late.”

In a separate interview with Bloomberg TV, however, Marcus enthused about mobile payments.

“Mobile is going to be at the centre of your money and all the transactions you make,” he said. “We’re doubling down on our investments in mobile.”

Marcus warned, however, that the shift to mobile payments was long term. It’s going to take years for mobile technology to become the main way to pay, Marcus said, “but we’re in it for the long run.”

PayPal, a unit of eBay, has 137 million users worldwide.

  • Charlie

    He’s an idiot, I see him getting thrown out by the board in about 5 years for his lack of vision.


Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

Read more