Bitcoin may overtake PayPal (but not this year)

As bitcoin gains repute in the payment processing world, serious investors are starting to take note. With that notoriety, predictably comes some hype.

The hype

In a recent press release, Laureate Trust, a portfolio management company, wrote that it bitcoin will soon overtake PayPal in transaction volume.

“Whenever you have an instrument that trades over 300 million US dollars a day, it must be recognized,” said CEO Peter Tasca. “The digital currency works, Bitcoin has greater volume transactions than Western Union and we anticipate it will overtake PayPal later this year.”

The releases quoted SmartMetric CEO Chaya Hendrick as stating that bitcoin may surpass the dollar transaction volumes of larger payment processing companies, like Discover, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, within the next few years.

“We’ve seen governments all over the world impose restrictions on the currency and that is good,” Tasca stated. ” In a free market economy this creates a safe trading environment and reduces the volatility Bitcoin holders have experienced in the last six months. This digital currency was meant to facilitate the exchange of currency to be spent, not traded.”

This noble sentiment didn’t stop Laureate Trust from writing that it sees the current dip in price – then valued at $522.57 – as an opportunity to buy the currency, which it said could increase 50 percent in the near future.

The problem

This press release sent parts of the crypto-currency news world into a small flurry, even briefly making the front page of Google News. Unfortunately, it is based on incorrect data.

The press release cites BitcoinWatch as stating that the daily average transaction volume of bitcoin in USD is almost $300 million. This is simply not the case. and CoinMetrics both have the average daily transaction volume of bitcoin in USD pegged at a more reasonable $80.4 million. For some comparison, Western Union has a daily transaction volume of about $216 million, PayPal’s is $397 million and Visa’s is $16.5 billion – over double the value of the entire bitcoin market cap at recent prices.

Bitcoin has a number of real advantages over other payment processing companies, and that includes PayPal. One crypto-currency or another may indeed get to the moon someday and pass industry giants like Visa, Inc. To suggest that bitcoin will surpass an industry giant like PayPal this year, however, is at best unrealistic. At worst – a classic pump and dump.

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