Comparing Bitcoin to PayPal Makes no Sense

Comparing Bitcoin to other online money transfer services is virtually pointless. It is like comparing apples with oranges, as there will never be any fair comparison to be drawn. That said, Bitaccess is keen on exploring how Bitcoin behaves compared to the likes of credit cards and PayPal. While promising, the information needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Bitcoin Outperforms PayPal

The statistic shared on Twitter by BitAccess is rather misleading. While it confirms Bitcoin’s annual transaction volume has increased significantly, that is as far as the “comparison” goes. Claiming how Bitcoin has overtaken PayPal in annual trading volume in both 2017 and 2018 seems to be a bit of a stretch. 

More specifically, PayPal notes major growth every single year. As such, one could easily claim that company has seen major growth as well, yet it doesn’t reflect properly on these charts. It is true PayPal generated “just” 578 billion in transaction volume throughout 2018, it is more widely used than Bitcoin may ever be. 

Speculation vs Use

The biggest difference between Bitcoin and PayPal is how both tools are used. To this date, cryptocurrency is more speculative than anything else. Of the $1.3tn in volume, a very small percentage is being used for goods and services. These volumes also represent funds sent to and from exchanges, which skews the picture quite a bit in favor of the world’s leading cryptocurrency.

PayPalon the other hand, is a platform where money is sent directly between users. Every transaction represents value changing hands for a reason other than speculation. People are using this platform to pay for a wide variety of things, whereas Bitcoin is not a payment tool, even on the best of days. As such, the annual transaction volume is incredibly misleading when taking it out of context completely.

The User Base

Perhaps the most interesting statistic not mentioned on the chart is the user base. Bitcoin, while somewhat popular, is used by far fewer people than most enthusiasts would like to think. It is a niche form of money for a niche crowd. Overcoming that status has proven to be very difficult in recent years, and it seems unlikely that anything will change in the years to come. 

PayPal is a global service provider which continues to make inroads in many different countries. Although the service isn’t available everywhere any longer, it is evident the market appeal of using PayPal makes Bitcoin look like an even more niche project than it is. This further invalidates the statistic by BitAccess, as it simply isn’t useful comparing the two simply by transaction volume per annum.