The digital payments firm Stripe is building a team to create products related to cryptocurrency and other digital assets to meet demand it says is coming from developers.
Guillaume Poncin, Stripe’s head of engineering for banking and financial products, will lead the cryptocurrency unit. Poncin is recruiting engineers and designers to build the technology to support cryptocurrency.
“As usage of cryptocurrency grows worldwide, it opens up exciting avenues for businesses and individuals to transact and create value,” said one of the job postings. “We hear a growing need from developers and users in that space for better building blocks to accept payments, move funds, exchange between fiat and crypto, etc.”
Stripe, which uses application programming interfaces to enable businesses to operate online stores and accept payments as its core business, was an early adopter of cryptocurrency, supporting Bitcoin in 2014. Stripe later dropped Bitcoin acceptance in 2018, with the company saying there were few use cases for accepting and paying with Bitcoin. Stripe also referenced cryptocurrency’s volatility as a reason to drop the service.
Stripe co-founder John Collison suggested on Twitter that the company has continued monitoring cryptocurrency, and in the last few years new innovations such as stablecoins and distributed finance are “particularly exciting.” Stripe did not return a request for comment by deadline.
Since 2018, Stripe’s competitors have ramped up support for cryptocurrency, while cryptocurrency-adjacent technology has taken off. Stablecoins, which are backed by traditional currency, are growing as a way to help merchants and consumers use digital currency for payments while avoiding shifts in cryptocurrency valuation. And distributed finance has become popular among digital currency developers and fintech startups as a way to streamline payments and other financial services.
PayPal in early 2021 launched Checkout with Crypto, which allows PayPal merchants to accept cryptocurrency and settle in U.S. dollars. PayPal’s Venmo added a service that allows consumers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency inside the app for a fee starting at $1. The two services open cryptocurrency trading to as many as 400 million PayPal users.
Square supports cryptocurrency trading through its Cash App, with this service accounting for a majority of Square’s revenue, providing a funding source for Square to develop added financial services for consumers and merchants.
Visa in March launched a program that uses the USDC stablecoin to settle transactions over Ethereum, using the Crypto.com program and the digital asset bank Anchorage. Mastercard has also announced support for cryptocurrency, most likely to support stablecoin payments.