UPDATE 3-Palantir allows payments in bitcoin, mulls investing in cryptocurrencies

May 11, 2021

(Adds details on bitcoin, updates shares)

May 11 (Reuters) - Palantir Technologies Inc, a Peter Thiel-backed U.S. analytics company, said on Tuesday it had started accepting bitcoin as payment from customers and was also considering investing in cryptocurrencies.

This comes as the world's biggest cyrptocurrency continues to gain acceptance across Wall Street with companies like Tesla Inc allowing customers to buy vehicles with bitcoin. The electric-car maker also bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin earlier this year, propelling its prices to record highs.

Palantir, which beat first-quarter revenue after clinching large deals from government agencies and large corporations, saw its shares rise about 4% in volatile trading after falling more than 9% premarket.

The company said it expects current-quarter revenue to rise 43% to $360 million. Analysts were expecting $344.31 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Known mainly for its work with U.S. government defense and intelligence agencies including the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Palantir enables customers to integrate their data with its software platforms, which helps them get an analytical view of their operations.

Palantir, co-founded in 2003 by billionaire Thiel who endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, has courted its share of controversies with analysts and experts questioning its valuation and raising privacy concerns around the data the company has access to.

The company's revenue rose 49% to $341.2 million in the first quarter, above estimates of $332.23 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding items, the company earned a profit of 4 cents per share in line with analysts' expectations. (Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)