John Donahoe, eBay's CEO, has confirmed that the company is building a digital wallet for PayPal that can take multiple types of currency.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Donahoe dismissed calls made by activist and investor Carl Icahn, who recently called for PayPal to be spun off into an independent company. Donahoe disagreed, believing PayPal and eBay should stay just the way they are.
No spin, no spin-off
"Mobile is the most important platform shift that has happened arguably in the last decade. When mobile first started no-one would have downloaded a PayPal mobile app," he said.
However, Donahoe points out that more than 100 million users downloaded the eBay app, with seamless PayPal integration. He also pointed out that the mobile platform helped PayPal get "viral traction".
When asked to comment whether the spin-off would be a good idea as a hedge against digital currencies, Donahoe said digital currencies are not a threat, as they can be integrated into PayPal.
"There is nothing holding PayPal back from pursuing digital payments today, as part of eBay. In fact PayPal is pursuing digital payments and is the leading digital payments alternative in many different environments," Donahoes said. He added:
"You can use digital currencies in the PayPal digital wallet, that's in fact what PayPal is doing – is building a digital wallet that can take multiple types of currency."
Bitcoin backers in eBay's ranks
Donahoe has made some positive comments about digital currencies in the past. However, this does not mean PayPal will add bitcoin to its new digital wallet.
The CEO is not alone, either. In December, PayPal president David Marcus said he is a "big fan" of bitcoin – claiming the currency is the future. However, he went on to say that he isn't ready to let people link their bitcoin wallets with PayPal accounts just yet.
Marcus pointed out that the regulatory framework has to become clearer and that volatility needs to come down before PayPal can seriously consider bitcoin. In other words, it won't happen anytime soon.