Breaking Affirm Turns to Crypto As Max Levchin Acknowledges Bitcoin

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In Brief
  • Max Levchin recognizes the need to regard crypto as a payment option.

  • This marks the early stages of corporate awakening towards cryptocurrencies at Affirm.

  • The company is joining the ranks of payment giants actively working on their own crypto solutions.

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In the latest interview with CNBC, the CEO of the fintech lender Affirm claimed he might have to consider accepting bitcoin (BTC), despite his initial skeptical stance on crypto.



The infamous crypto skeptic appears to be warming up to cryptocurrencies, as bitcoin is closer than ever to $50,000.

Crossing Over the Bitcoin Chasm

Levchin explained that the growth in popularity of cryptocurrencies had been “incredible.” Thus, the market movements should inform the decision-making process on whether to integrate digital assets with fintech products or not.



Continuing on the subject, Levchin admitted that the firm may need to embrace bitcoin:

“If it becomes a meaningful exchange that folks want to actually use to buy their Pelotons and their sporting goods, we will have to consider it.”

Earlier, Levchin told CNBC that he is open-minded about blockchain, while he has some concerns over bitcoin itself. Calling into question its credibility as a long-term investment, he said:

“TBD [To be discussed] on whether it’s a currency or just a way to make money fast. I invest in things that I have a strong, long-term point of view on and bitcoin I’m still trying to figure out.”

But today the “buy now, pay later” fintech seems to view bitcoin as one of the potential moneymakers. On Feb. 11, Affirm issued its first quarterly earnings report since going public in January.

Despite revenue having beaten all expectations, the company remains unprofitable after losing over $31 million by the end of Dec. 31.

Big Boost in Fintech Engagement

Bitcoin’s value soared considerably on Feb. 8 after Tesla invested $1.5 billion in the world’s leading cryptocurrency. 

At the same time, PayPal announced further plans to expand its initial cryptocurrency offer to the UK through the Venmo wallet. UK-residents will be the first non-American users to access buy, sell, and custody crypto features while shopping with the platform.

On Feb. 10, Mastercard joined the party by saying it will enable merchants to transact in crypto on its payment network. Previously, Visa had revealed a bitcoin and crypto banking roadmap as a part of its new digital-first approach.

The payments giant has already partnered with crypto startup BlockFi to power a bitcoin-rewards credit card. It has also partnered with First Boulevard to pilot its new crypto software program.

Meanwhile, institutional demand keeps gaining momentum. According to Bitcointreasuries.org, publicly-traded companies and fund managers currently hold about $60 billion in bitcoin. In percentage terms, this is nearly 6% of the circulating supply.

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Amy was born in Malmo, Sweden. She became interested in cryptocurrency due to her husband, who was an early investor in bitcoin. Now, Amy writes for a number of crypto outlets, invests in cryptocurrencies, and spends time with her cat Buterin.

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