Fintechs See Strongest Payments Challenge From Stablecoins and CBDCs, Not Bitcoin: Cowen

The team at Cowen recently held fireside chats with executives from PayPal and Visa, among others.

AccessTimeIconMar 29, 2022 at 3:37 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:18 p.m. UTC
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While it’s still early innings for crypto, management teams at leading fintech companies regard stablecoins and possibly central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as more “elegant” than bitcoin (BTC) with respect to payments, according to a research report from financial services firm Cowen (COWN).

  • PayPal’s (PYPL) Edwin Aoki and Jose Fernandez da Ponte – the chief technology officer of blockchain, crypto and digital currencies, and the unit’s senior vice president, respectively – told Cowen their company for the moment intends to work within the crypto ecosystem, rather than launching a proprietary product.
  • The report noted that they see room for the use of a number of types of digital assets and tokens – stablecoins and CBDCs among them – but believe decentralized cryptos (i.e., bitcoin) may not work as well due in part to scalability issues.
  • Visa (V) Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu reiterated his company’s enthusiasm for digital currencies and its goal of being a bridge between the crypto and fiat worlds. In similar fashion to the PayPal executives, Prabhu told Cowen that Bitcoin has “limitations” in payments due to volatility and speed.
  • Summing it up, the Cowen team, led by Managing Director George Mihalos, called bitcoin as a payments medium “a far less elegant approach with stablecoins and potentially CBDCs offering a superior solution.”


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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto reporter focused on public companies and digital asset firms.

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