The following is a contributed article from a content partner of Benzinga
Over the last five months, the cryptocurrency market has experienced a dramatic recovery, catapulting most cryptocurrencies to their highest value so far in 2020. During this time, a number of online payment behemoths have been ramping up their presence in the space, helping to make cryptocurrency investments more accessible than ever before.
Among these, Alphabet Inc.(NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) subsidiary Google is arguably the biggest player to enter the mix, after recently partnering with multiple prominent blockchain companies to add Google Pay as a payment method for cryptocurrency purchases.
Google’s Crypto Ambitions
Despite being arguably one of the most innovative companies today — with a large number of ultra-ambitious projects like Project Loon Waymo being developed by X, a subsidiary of Google that is widely billed as “The Moonshot Factory” — Google has largely kept its distance from the innovative field of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
However, as a result of rapidly increasing demand for cryptocurrencies among retail investors, the need for trustworthy, well-recognized fiat on-ramps that make investment both safe and simple has become a major focus point for blockchain companies looking to make their services and products more accessible. Likewise, Google has stepped in to meet this demand by now allowing crypto firms to offer Google Pay as a payment method.
Peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange platform Paxful became the first crypto company to facilitate Google Pay transactions, allowing users in dozens of countries to purchase Bitcoin from vendors using Google’s payment solution. Coinbase also partnered with Google Pay back in March to allow users of its crypto-powered Visa debit card to make payments using their cryptocurrency balance by adding their Coinbase Card to Google Pay.
Most recently, cryptocurrency trading analytics and education platform NewsCrypto became the first platform to offer direct cryptocurrency purchases using Google Pay. Customers using the platform can now purchase the NewsCrypto Coin (NWC) directly using Google Pay, in addition to PayPal, Visa, and more. These tokens can be used to unlock more advanced trading tools or can be staked to earn 30% APR.
With more than 67 million users, Google Pay’s entry into the cryptocurrency space could pave the way for mass adoption, by ensuring practically anybody with a smartphone can easily and securely buy and use cryptocurrencies.
PayPal And Visa Recently Joined The Mix
Google isn’t the only online payment giant that has begun growing its presence in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. Both PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) and Visa, Inc. (NYSE: V) have also formed a large number of new arrangements with blockchain and cryptocurrency firms in recent months.
Back in June, PayPal revealed it was planning to launch its own cryptocurrency trading and direct purchase solution through a partnership with Paxos. It was later found that PayPal had originally outlined these plans back in March in a letter to the European Commission, where the California-based payment firm describes its intent to “achieve greater financial inclusion and help reduce/eliminate some of the pain points that exist today in financial services.”
PayPal already works hand-in-hand with a small number of cryptocurrency brokerage platforms, including Coinbase, Coinmama, and CEX.io, as well as a handful of trading platforms, but it is clear from recent leaks that it has much larger ambitions in the cryptocurrency space.
Visa also changed its tune on cryptocurrency this year, filing a patent for a cryptocurrency system that could be positioned to replace physical currencies. The patent, titled “digital fiat currency,” was filed by Visa International Service Association late last year, but was published back in May.
The payment firm has also made strategic investments in crypto firms like Anchorage, and recently welcomed Coinbase onboard as a principal member, allowing it to issue debit cards without relying on a third-party provider. In a recent blog post titled “Advancing Our Approach to Digital Currency,” Visa highlighted its plans to develop its digital currency services by supporting the digital currencies their clients demand and pursuing projects that benefit their clients and partners.
Both Visa and PayPal were originally poised to form founding members of The Libra Association — a consortium of companies tasked with governing Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrencies — but pulled out after the project encountered significantly regulatory push back.
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