PayPal has invested an undisclosed amount in blockchain-based identity management company Cambridge Blockchain – a move that Forbes has noted as being PayPal’s first-ever blockchain investment.
With this move in support of Cambridge’s extension of its Series A round, PayPal now joins the likes of the venture capital arm of electronics manufacturer Foxconn in backing the company.
While PayPal’s investment size has not been officially made public, recent filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that Cambridge has raised $3.5 million in fresh funds since launching its extension funding round in May 2018, which includes investment from Omidyar Network as well as PayPal.
Prior to this, Cambridge had raised $7 million earlier in its main Series A round which saw the likes of Foxconn’s HCM Capital, Partech Ventures, and Digital Currency Group coming forward.
Cambridge is working on a solution to allow individuals the ownership and control over their online identities – bypassing the need for third-party middlemen platforms like Facebook. Forbes, in fact, likens it to using Facebook, except users will have the power to who is allowed to see their personal information used in identity verification.
With the investment in Cambridge, PayPal is looking into using Cambridge’s solution to let PayPal users prove their identity while avoiding their personal information from being unnecessarily shared.
A PayPal spokesperson commented, “We made an investment in Cambridge Blockchain because it is applying blockchain for digital identity in a way that we believe could benefit financial services companies including PayPal.”
Before this, Forbes said that PayPal’s only known forays into blockchain have involved filing a patent last March to speed up transaction rates of crypto, and an in-house project to promote employee participation using blockchain tokens.
Apart from its identity solution, Cambridge will reportedly spend its Series A and extension funding on research and development, and enlarging its manpower bases in Boston, Paris, and Beijing – the latter in particular with an aim to work on projects with Foxconn.
The Massachusetts-based company has previously scored collaborations with other giant companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Mastercard, and Accenture under the umbrella of the non-profit Decentralized Identity Foundation.