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March 14, 2022 8:57 am
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Paypal CEO Dan Schulman: ‘Cryptocurrencies Will Redefine the Financial World’

avatar by James Spiro / CTech

A smartphone with the PayPal logo is placed on a laptop in this illustration taken on July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

CTech – “I’m very excited about what crypto and digital ledger technology can do to the financial system going forward,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told CTech. “I think the initial things that everyone thinks about Crypto, buying and selling it, and what the price of bitcoin is going to be tomorrow, that’s the least interesting part about digital currencies to me. That is thinking about digital currencies as an asset class. To me, the real exciting thing about digital currencies is what kind of utility can they provide in payments.”

Schulman spoke to CTech ahead of his keynote speech at Axis Tel Aviv, an international investment and innovation conference to be held at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation on Tuesday, March 29. This year, the conference will be in-person with more than 50 investors from foreign venture capital funds and international corporations that will meet 70 Israeli startups that are developing new technologies.

“Clearly, across the world, central banks are looking at issuing digital currencies,” Schulman continued. “The intersection between CBDC, stable coins, digital wallets, and enhanced utility of payments through cryptocurrencies is not just fascinating but I think will redefine a lot of the financial world going forward.”

The conference will focus on four main themes: fintech, retail/eCommerce, mobility, and sports/wellness. Notable venture capital funds and corporations taking part in the conference, now in its 9th year, include Amazon, P&G, GM Ventures, APX, Garmin Konnect-Volkswagen, Applied Ventures and others. In total, 15 Israeli startups were selected to pitch and answer questions on their companies. These include Mov.AI, C2A, and Ezmems.

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Have you been impacted by the strong demand for Israeli high-tech workers leaving large corporations for startups?

“I think across the world you’ve got always challenges in retaining great talent,” Schulman said. “But also you have a lot of advantages in attracting great talent. We are a larger company with a really strong balance sheet, the ability to invest, working on incredibly important things that make a huge difference in the world. I am seeing that now with the situation in Europe, just how essential PayPal is in terms of the economies of different countries, how important every one of our actions can be, and how our values can impact the world. I think there is always this combination of people thinking they can go to a startup and make a difference. Sometimes you can go to larger companies and make an even bigger impact. So talent is always the thing that keeps me up at night. Attracting the best talent, retaining the best talent, and having a passionate workforce I think is the number one most important thing a CEO ought to think about and focus on.”

What is the connection like between PayPal and Israeli companies?

“We have 18 different functional teams inside Israel. It isn’t just one specialty but it is really tapping into the immense talent pool inside of Israel. Obviously, the technological community inside Israel is one of the most advanced in the world. A lot of that coming out of the military, but it is just a place with a can-do attitude, with a philosophy of ‘ok, we have no choice, we are going to win here. We are going to do the things that need to get done.’ With a tremendous amount of discipline and a tremendous amount of expertise in a lot of the technological AI fields that are so important in today’s world. So we couldn’t be more happy to have a growing presence in Israel that will continue to expand.”

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