A patent application by eBay, the parent of PayPal, may signal that the company is making plans for its own virtual currency.
The patent, which was applied for in summer 2012, is for something called a “gift token”. It appears that eBay may have designs on developing a new way to distribute monetary value within the digital realm.
“A gift can be given from a user of a payment provider to a gift recipient,” according to US patent application 20130339188, which was published on 19th December 2013.
It’s clear that eBay’s intention is to use the idea of gift tokens with PayPal, which has been the company’s payment arm since it was acquired in 2002 for $1.5bn.
The application states:
What’s interesting about the application is that the tokens may be designed for more ubiquitous use outside of PayPal, which could encourage wide adoption.
The patent application continues, saying that:
Widespread payment adoption is likely a determinant as to whether a virtual currency will succeed or not.
PayPal president David Marcus has said that he believes that bitcoin is a part of the future of money. But according to him, the general public has an identity problem with bitcoin, commenting on the issue at LeWeb:
And in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article in December, Marcus was quoted saying that mobile was the future of payments for PayPal. The patent application could signify that PayPal expects virtual gift tokens to eventually replace the functionality of gift cards.
“Mobile is going to be at the center of your money and all the transactions you make,” Marcus said on Bloomberg TV.
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