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PayPal CEO Dan Schulman takes on the crypto naysayers

June 13, 2022, 9:26 AM UTC

Good morning.

I took a day trip Friday to Austin, to join the thousands attending the 2022 Consensus festival, which bills itself as a “celebration of all that crypto has to offer.” I was there to interview PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, an early crypto adopter among the Fortune 500 crowd, and his SVP of all-things-digital-currency-related, Jose Fernandez da Ponte. This is Schulman:

“We are in the early innings of crypto and digital currencies, but we clearly see it as a major part, and a redefinition of, the financial system…Look, there are a lot of naysayers. There are a lot of people who haven’t spent as much time studying this as some of us. But you look at the current financial system today, and it’s antiquated. It has a stubbornly high take rate. And the take rate is much higher for those who have less than those who have money…

“Any way we can move money faster is going to be extraordinarily helpful for those trying to make ends meet. Any way we can reduce the cost of those transactions is going to be tremendously valuable to those who most need it.

“The next five to 10 years are going to bring massive change.”

There are a lot of different ideas on where this is headed. Before us on the Consensus main stage was chess grand master Garry Kasparov, who thinks crypto will replace the dollar as a reserve currency within the decade. (I’m skeptical.) Afterward came a group of bipartisan members of Congress determined to modernize financial regulation so it covers these new products (and doesn’t displace the dollar). But there was little disagreement with Schulman’s basic notion that the technology is going to be transformative. 

At Fortune, we agree, and are bringing back Jeff John Roberts, who left to do a stint as executive editor of Decrypt, to lead our efforts in this space. Stay tuned here for more. Other news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Tumble time

Inflationary fears are pushing down markets around the world, hitting equities, bonds, and cryptocurrencies. The Hang Seng fell 3.4% today, and Europe’s Stoxx 600 is down 2% at the time of publication. Bitcoin fell below $25,000, and Ethereum is plunging too. Expect a rough open in the U.S. this morning. Fortune

Google settlement

Google will pay $118 million to settle a lawsuit covering 15,550 female employees in California, who say the company consistently pays women less than it does men. Google will also allow third-party inspections of its recruitment processes. Fortune

Gun legislation

Following a compromise struck in the Senate, the U.S. seems set to get new federal legislation that incentivizes states to implement “red flag” laws, promotes mental health programs and school security, and adds juvenile records to background checks—but doesn’t ban any weapons or raise age limits on assault rifle purchases. Wall Street Journal

More nukes

The world’s stockpiles of nuclear weapons have been falling since the Cold War, but that’s set to change in the coming years unless nuclear powers take immediate action, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Reuters

AROUND THE WATERCOOLER

Celsius freeze

Citing “extreme market conditions” (see above), the leading crypto lending platform Celsius has paused all transactions and withdrawals: “We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honor, over time, its withdrawal obligations.” Fortune

German hesitancy

Why is Germany so hesitant to send Ukraine the heavy weapons it desperately needs to defend itself against Russia? There are historical reasons, but that doesn’t fully explain Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s slow movement and reluctance to even say he wants Ukraine to win. Fortune

Trump indictment

Former President Donald Trump could be hit with a criminal indictment, after members of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot say they have enough evidence regarding his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. Fortune

Recession watch

Larry Summers thinks the GOP’s downplaying of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot “feeds through on inflation” because it harms the U.S. government’s credibility. The former Treasury secretary also thinks a recession will come within the next couple of years—on which note, a Financial Times poll of leading academic economists points to a recession next year. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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