Stocks surged after President Donald Trump said he will be meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the upcoming G-20 summit.US Marketsread more
In a tweet, Trump said that he and Xi "had a very good telephone conversation," and that "our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting."Politicsread more
The move is part of a larger trend that saw the survey's 179 participants move away from risk and toward positions that reflect fear of a coming economic slowdown spurred by a...Marketsread more
Trump went after Draghi for opening the door for more monetary stimulus in Europe, which would weaken the euro relative to the dollar.Marketsread more
Shares of Beyond Meat soared 18% in premarket trading Tuesday, surpassing $200 per share.Food & Beverageread more
UBS believes a rate cut from the Federal Reserve would do little to lift the market.Marketsread more
Investors bracing themselves for lower Federal Reserve rates should think about loading up on health care stocks, history shows.Marketsread more
Canaccord Genuity's Tony Dwyer warns that If the Fed fails on Wednesday to signal a rate cut, the June rally could hit the skids.Trading Nationread more
Elon Musk has said that a brain-computer interface is 'coming soon,' but he is known for overly ambitious deadlines. Still, some of the boldest tech ideas are going to be...Technology Executive Councilread more
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to its lowest level since September 2017 as the Fed began its two-day policy meeting.Bondsread more
"We seek to become the global standard for online payments."
Thiel is now far removed from his time as CEO of the payments company, and is better known as a venture capital investor and supporter of President Trump's 2016 campaign. But his vision appears to be intact at Facebook, where he was an early investor and has long served on the board of directors.
Since December, Facebook has been developing a virtual currency based on blockchain technology that could be used by WhatsApp users to send payments to one another, according to various reports. The project is otherwise known as a stablecoin, meaning a currency that will be pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar or another stable currency, allowing it to hold value more predictably than pure cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
This stablecoin could be announced as soon as next quarter, according to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday. That report also highlighted that several of the executives spearheading the Facebook project are ex-PayPal employees, including leader David Marcus, who was the company's president from 2012 to 2014.
We don't know if Thiel is actively involved in the Facebook stablecoin project. Typically, board members at major public companies have limited influence over company strategy and are almost never involved in day-to-day operations. Thiel told the New York Times in March 2018, "The board's role is to help think about some of the medium- and longer-term problems coming around the corner."
However, Thiel has definitely been active in the cryptocurrency space. He reportedly bought hundreds of millions of dollars of bitcoin starting in mid-2017 and has invested in cryptocurrency-related startups. He has talked about bitcoin as a possible replacement for gold -- a store of value, rather than a payment mechanism as Facebook is reportedly planning -- in a March 2018 interview at the Economic Club of New York.
Cryptocurrency in general could fulfill the vision Thiel laid out to Wired in a 2001 article titled "The Money Shot. "
"Let's say you're in the middle class in Moscow, with a ruble-based bank account and a credit card," he says. "Use the card to make payments to a PayPal account and you've effectively opened an offshore account." That's vastly preferable, he suggests, to keeping your wealth in an unstable currency backed by a volatile government.
Thiel told Wired that PayPal's goal was "to become the de facto online payment standard."
In some ways, PayPal has succeeded in this mission. The company claims 277 million active accounts and it serves as one of the main forms of payments for online transactions, including as the service for Instagram's upcoming checkout feature.
But when Thiel led the company, his vision was for global dominance, and at 277 million accounts and 53% of revenue coming from the U.S., PayPal is far from the mark.
With Facebook, which claims 2.7 billion global monthly users across all of its apps, Thiel's vision has a better chance at becoming a reality.
To do this, Facebook must succeed in building out its stablecoin project and also succeed in interconnecting its Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp messaging services. The company has the incentives to do this. Facebook has come under relentless scrutiny for invasions of privacy since the start of 2018, and as a result, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made privacy and payments a top priority.
"All these devices will become one day just like your wallet," Thiel told Wired in 1999 when PayPal was still known under the name Confinity. "Every one of your friends will become like a virtual, miniature ATM."
Facebook declined to comment on the project or Thiel's influence, saying only "Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don't have anything further to share."