According to reporting by Michael del Castillo of Forbes, PayPal has invested in its first blockchain company, called Cambridge Blockchain. While the multi-billion dollar company has previously filed a blockchain-based patent and explored an internal project for incentivizing employees with tokens, they are now looking outside for further blockchain expansion.
The report notes Cambridge Blockchain is a startup whose work is focused on providing individuals an online identity without needing a third party to verify it. For instance, rather than having to cross reference multiple social media accounts, one could prove verification, in a peer-to-peer way, while retaining control of one’s personal data.
The investment of PayPal into Cambridge Blockchain’s Series A funding (first round of venture capital financing) provides an insight into PayPals direction with blockchain technology. Given the rising popularity of personal data protection, largely due in part to the recent Facebook data scandal, this could part of what’s fueling the direction. Many more people are now in tune to their online personal data and the ability to control who can see what.
“We made an investment in Cambridge Blockchain because it is applying blockchain for digital identity in a way that we believe could benefit financial services companies including PayPal,” a PayPal spokesperson told Forbes. He continued, “Our investment will allow us to explore potential collaborations to leverage blockchain technology.”
Cambridge Blockchain CEO Matthew Commons, said to Forbes, “We envision a future where users have a lot more direct control over their personal data, and we also believe in open, interoperable architectures…We want to get away from a world where people are really locked into one specific platform and are stuck with that.”
According to Coindesk, Cambridge Blockchain “shares, stores and validates data using blockchains, and in this capacity, it can run on top of any flavor of distributed ledger, public or private.” They also note that Cambridge Blockchain, whose “bread and butter is around onboarding of personal data and know-your-customer (KYC) vetting” is part of the Decentralized Identity Foundation with members that include the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, R3, IBM Blockchain, and Hyperledger.